UNION OF INDIA Vs. ORIENT PAPER AND INDUSTRIES LIMITED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
ORIENT PAPER AND INDUSTRIES LIMITED
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(1.)Union of India has filed this appeal against the order of the Railway Rates Tribunal, Madras. While examining the complaint filed by the respondent, the Tribunal framed the following issues :
"1. Is not the complaint maintainable in law
2. Is the complaint beyond the competence and jurisdiction of this Tribunal
3. Is the levy of freight charges in addition to siding charges in respect of haulage of wagons from Brajranager station to the exchanges point on the siding, leading to complainants' Mills unreasonable
4. What is the reasonable charge that can be levied for placing complainants' wagons at the exchanges yard
5. To what relief, are the complainants entitled -
(2.)On Issue No. 1, the Tribunal held that the complaint was maintainable. Issue No.2 was decided against the appellant and it was held that the Tribunal has the competence as well as the jurisdiction to try the issues. On Issue No.3, it was held that the levy of freight charges in addition to siding charges was unreasonable. On Issue Nos. 4 & 5, it was held as under :
"In view of what has been stated above, the only reasonable charges leviable on such wagons, should the Railways choose to make the placement in the siding, would be siding charge.
Given the above circumstances, the freight charges realised on such wagons for the period from the date of the complaint have to be refunded by the Railways to the complainants."
(3.)After hearing learned counsel for the parties, we do not find any infirmity in the order passed by the Tribunal on Issue Nos. 1-3. On Issue Nos. 4 & 5, we are satisfied that the Tribunal under Section 36 of the Railways Act, 1989 could not direct the appellant to refund the excess freight charged to the respondent. In this connection, a reference may be made to the judgment of this Court in Upper Doab Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Shahdara (Delhi) Saharanpur Light Railway Co. Ltd., 1963 2 SCR 333 wherein it is held that Tribunal cannot order refund of the freight, already paid. Accordingly, the diirection issued by the Tribunal on Issue Nos. 4 & 5 is set aside to the extent it directs the appellant to refund the excess freight charged for the past period, if any.
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