Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: The Bench of Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. allowed an appeal and set aside the order passed by Tribunal for disallowing the claim petition of the said appellant against the respondent Railways.

The appellant contented to the Tribunal that delivery of goods was not within the stipulated time period and also the quantity of goods which in this particular case was oil was less than that of actual consignment and the seal of the said goods were broken. All the measurements of goods and the condition of goods were examined by the private staff along with the respondent’s staff, i.e., the Railway’s commercial staff. The aggrieved appellant claimed for the damages sustained due to criminal interference in transit along with compensation. The appellant submitted that the consignment was delivered after six months and there was laches on the part of the Railways and the Railways was responsible and the Tribunal committed an error by dismissing the claim of the appellant.

The respondent Railways argued that the examination of goods was not made by the appropriate authority and all the contentions of the appellant regarding the seal breakage and quantity has no substance as no short certificate was issued. They further submitted that when the goods are not loaded at the Railways siding according to the Act, Railways cannot be held liable for damages and in this particular case the goods were loaded at the siding of the appellant.

The Tribunal adjudicated the matter in favor of the respondent Railways and discharged their liability to pay any compensation for damages caused to the appellant; it further dismissed the appellants claim for compensation.

The Court observed the contentions of the appellant suggesting “In view of Section 93 of the Act, the Railway is responsible for the loss, destruction, damage or deterioration in transit, or non-delivery of any consignment. Section 95 of the Act provides that Railway Administration shall not be responsible if the railway proves that the delay or detention arose for reasons beyond its control or without negligence or misconduct on its part or on the part of any of its servants.” Court relied on the arguments of appellant relating to Section 99 of the Act, which held Railway administration as a bailee under the Indian Contract Act, 1872 hence, abiding with all the duties of a bailee related to loss, destruction and damages etc.

The Court held, “Railways has to deal with the goods put in its care as a bailee and has to take the same amount of care for the goods as a man of ordinary prudence not only during period of transit of goods from the station of origin to the station of destination but for a period of 7 days after the termination of transit.” The Court further found that consignment was properly secured when placed with Railways and the Railways staff had full accessibility to examine the loading and unloading of goods. There was unnecessary delay in the delivery of the goods for which railways had no explanation. Court reversed the order of Tribunal and held Railways liable for the damages and delay of goods and granted compensation to the appellant.[Rajinder Kumar Mohal v. Union of India, MA No. 65 of 2017, decided on 02-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Petitioner filed before the bench of Gurvinder Singh Gill, J., an application for grant of anticipatory bail where FIR was registered under Sections 307, 326, 324, 325, 148 and 149 of Penal Code.

The FIR was filed alleging petitioner that he inflicted a blow with kirch in the stomach of the complainant and his nephew was also injured in the process. Petitioner submitted that genesis of occurrence was suppressed as he himself had received 7 injuries. Further, the incident occurred in a shop possessed by the petitioner which shows that complainant was the aggressor. Whereas the respondent submitted that since petitioner was specifically mentioned in the FIR and allegations against him were duly established in the Medico-Legal Report thus no case for anticipatory bail was made out.

High Court perused a judgment passed by Civil Judge (Junior Division) Amritsar where an uncle of the complainant, had filed a civil suit against a petitioner seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from causing any damage to the shops. The aforementioned suit was dismissed where the petitioner had failed to establish entitlement towards a suit property. As stated by petitioner the appeal against the above was dismissed. However, the Court was of the view that since petitioner had 7 injuries whose aggressor was not certain anticipatory bail must be granted. [Raj Kumar v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 151, dated 26-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Mohit Kumar Shah, J. hearing a civil writ petition against power distribution company, allowed the affected party to claim compensation from the company for damage caused to its property owing to the layout of electric wires.

The present petition prayed for a command to the respondent to shift an 11,000-voltage of live wire passing over the residential house of the petitioner, as the same had been hanged without his permission. The respondents opposed the same stating that the electric wire had been laid about twenty years prior to the construction of petitioner’s house but no objection was raised by the petitioner at the time of laying the wire. Moreover, the wire passed by the side of the house over an asbestos shed. Further, about 9000 consumers were being benefited by the electricity in question and there was no feasibility for shifting the line.

The Court followed law laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Power Grid Corpn. of India Ltd. v. Century Textiles and Industries Ltd., (2017) 5 SCC 143 wherein it was held that Section 10 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 empowers the telegraph authority to place and maintain a telegraph line under, over, along or across and posts in or upon any immovable property; and in doing so, the government acquires only a right of user in the said property. The authority is obliged to ensure that it causes as little damage as possible and if any damage is caused by exercise of those powers, it is obliged to pay full compensation to the affected party for the damage sustained.

Accordingly, the petition was disposed of with the consent of parties with liberty to the petitioner to avail remedies as available to him under the aforesaid judgment. [Sanjay Kumar v. North Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2317, Order dated 05-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Sikkim High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of CJ Vijai Kumar Bist, disposed of a writ petition on carefully observing that an alternative remedy under the Sikkim Greenfield Airport, Pakyong (Settlement of Claims for Loss and Damages) Act, 2018 is available for claiming compensation by filing a claim petition thereunder.

In the present petition, the petitioner had started to construct his house on a plot at Karthok Block, Pakyong, East Sikkim. He had constructed a protective wall in order to withstand the natural calamities. Petitioner on completion of the construction of ground floor found that all the walls of the ground floor had developed many major and minor cracks.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the damaged building was assessed by the Buildings and Housing Department, Government of Sikkim for Rs 65,41,062 and he was entitled to the same from the State Authority. High Court’s order for complying with same was not adhered to which led to the filing of the contempt petition before this Court.

An additional submission was that the respondents had paid compensation to other affected persons except for the petitioner.

Thus, the Court noted the submissions of the parties and reached a conclusion by stating that the petitioner is entitled to compensation for the loss and damage suffered by him, but same cannot be awarded to him by issuing direction in this petition due to the alternative remedy available to him under the Sikkim Greenfield Airport, Pakyong (Settlement of Claims for Loss and Damages) Act, 2018. The writ petition was accordingly disposed of. [Hantey Gyatso Kazi v. State of Sikkim,2018 SCC OnLine Sikk 233, dated 15-11-2018]