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Report No. 38

35. Sections 6, 30, etc.-

Suggestion regarding limitation and liability for registered articles.- It has been suggested1, that the Department should be empowered to make rules to impose time-limits for compensation for loss or damage in respect of postal articles. The suggestion states, that sections 33, 34 and 48 "give power to the Central Government to frame rules about the liability of the Central Government".

It adds, that the Department has prescribed certain time limits within which it will accept complaints and claims in respect of payment of compensation with regard to loss or damage in respect of postal articles, but it has been found that the courts have rejected the cases on the ground that the time limits fixed by the Department had no legal force as these sections do not empower the Central Government to fix time limits. The suggestion, therefore, is, that section 6 may be amended to empower the Central Government to fix time-limits for the receipt of complaints or claims of compensation in such cases.

1. S. No. 96 (Suggestion of the Department).

36. On a study of the rules, we find that there are certain rules1 prescribing time limits. Thus, rule 81(d) provides that no compensation should be payable to the sender of the insured articles, where the sender has not given intimation of the loss within three months from the date of posting. Rule 102 provides, that the Central Government shall not incur any liability in respect of the sum specified for remittance to the sender in respect of a value-payable postal article, unless and until that sum has been received from the addressee and unless a claim for that sum has been preferred within one year from the date of posting of the article. Rules regarding various postal articles can be made under sections 33, 35, 36, 43 read with sections 48(a), and 74(1). Section 48(d) is also relevant as to wrong payment of a money order.

It is not necessary for us to express any opinion as to the validity of some of these rules, or to discuss the effect of the provision in section 74(3) under which rules made under the Act "shall have effect as if enacted by this Act." We are confining ourselves to the question whether the suggestion to amend section 6 on this point should be accepted. We are not inclined to accept the suggestion. A rule of limitation, annexes a condition to the exercise of a right.2-3 Ordinarily, a power to impose a period of limitation should not be made exercisable by subordinate legislation.

1. Rules 81(d), 102 & 180D, Indian Post Office Rules, 1933.

2. Cf. E.S.I. Corpn. v. Government of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1964 MP 75 (77); see also Solar Works v. E.S.I., AIR 1964 Mad 376.

3. See also Miss Maria v. B.R. Baliga, AIR 1967 Born 472.

Indian Post Office Act, 1898 Back

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