PRAG ICE AND OIL MILLS FIRM ALIGARH Vs. UNION OF INDIA UOI
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
PRAG ICE AND OIL MILLS, FIRM, ALIGARH
UNION OF INDIA
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Deoki Nandan, J. -
(1.)This is a plaintiff's second appeal in a suit for recovery of Rs. 11,000/- as damages. The suit was dismissed by both the courts below. Hence the second appeal.
(2.)The plaintiff owned a caterpillar type tractor which had chains instead of rubber wheels. The tractor was purchased by it in the year 1946, for Rs. 45,000. The plaintiff has a farm in village Kichha and another in the adjoining locality known as Lakhimpur Block. According to the plaintiff's case the tractor was on its way to its farm in the Lakhimpur Block. The gates of the railway level crossing were unlocked. There was no gateman present at that time and while the tractor was just about crossing the railway line, the Lucknow Kathgodam Express collided with it and threw it off at a distance of about 20 feet, causing serious damage to the tractor. The plaintiff pleaded that the defendant Railway Administration was negligent in not making proper arrangements at the level crossing for the safety of the public and prevention of such accidents. According to the plaintiff the damage to its tractor was caused on account of the negligence, carelessness and misconduct of the servants of the defendant Railway Administration. Rs. 10,564/- were alleged to have been spent on repairs of the tractor including replacement of broken or damaged parts Rupees 5/- on notice and correspondence, and Rs. 429/- were claimed as damages on account of loss of business and interest. This made up the total claim of Rs. 11,000/-.
(3.)According to the defendant Railway Administration, the level crossing was unmanned, it always remained open and the passing trains were visible on either side of the railway line from a considerable distance; that the tractor driver attempted to cross the railway line without taking due precautions that the tractor was not fitted with punch plates or steel sheets over the track, which must be fitted on a caterpillar type tractor before crossing a railway line, and that the tractor having got stuck up between the rails, it was abandoned on the line and that is why when the Lucknow Kothodam Express was passing that way on the morning of 15th March 1957, the tractor was thrown off by the impact of the railway engine, although the driver of the train stopped it as quickly as he could under the circumstances. The accident, it was pleaded by the defendant Railway Administration, was the result of the negligence of the driver of tha tractor who should have at least signalled the train to stop, in the circumstances.
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