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Report No. 89

32.11. Articles 10 and 11.- (a) Article 10 reads as unde.-

"Against carrier for compensation for losing or injuring goods.

Three years.

When the loss or injury occurs."

Article 30 of the Act of 1908 reads as unde.-

"Against carrier for compensation for losing or injuring goods.

One years.

When the loss or injury occurs."

Article 30 of the Act of 1877 and Article 36 of the Act of 1871 were identical, except that the period was two years.

(b) Article 11 reads as unde.-

"Against carrier for compensation for non-delivery of, or delay in delivering goods.

Three years.

When the goods ought to be delivered."

Article 31 of the Act of 1908 reads as unde.-

"Against carrier for compensation for non-delivery of, or delay in delivering goods.

One year.

When the goods ought to be delivered."

Article 31 of the Act of 1877 and Article 37 of the Act of 1871 were identical, except that the period was two years.

Acting upon the recommendations of the Law Commission,1 the period of limitation has been raised from one year (Act of 1908) to three years, in both the articles.

1. Law Commission of India, 3rd Report (Limitation Act, 1908), para. 72.

32.12. Compensati.-Railways Act, 1890.- Articles 10-11 came to be noticed by the Supreme Court1 in a case in which it was argued that because Articles 30 and 31 of the Limitation Act, 1908 (corresponding to Articles 10 and 11 of the present Act), provided different points of time from which the period of limitation was to run, the claim covered by those articles is not for compensation for loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods within the meaning of sections 72 and 77 of the Indian Railways Act, 1890.

This argument was, however, repelled by the Court, overruling a Full Beach judgment of the Allahabad High Court"2 to the contrary. Even though the Supreme Court has noticed the different starting points of limitation in Articles 10 and 11, it has not commented adversely upon it, nor has it made any suggestion for improvement.

1. Governor-General in Council v. Musadi Lal, AIR 1967 SC 725.

2. Governor-General-in-Council v. Mahabir Ram, AIR 1952 All 891 (FB).

32.13. Misdelive.-Recommendation.- A single Judge of the Madras High Court1 has held that Article 31 of the Act of 1908 (now Article 11) applies to a suit against a carrier for compensation for misdelivery of goods, and not Article 30 of the Act of 1908 (now Article 10). The High Court placed reliance on Supreme Court case2 which, though not exactly on the point, contains observations interpreting the expression "goods ought to be delivered". The Delhi High Court3 also relying on a Supreme Court case4, has ruled otherwise. In the case relied upon by the Delhi High Court, however, the Supreme Court had not decided the question at all, as would appear from the following except from the judgment5 of the Supreme Court:

"The learned Counsel for the appellant argued that Article 30 would apply to the suit claim, whereas the learned Counsel for the respondent contended that Article 31 would be more appropriate to the suit claim. We shall assume that Article 30 governed the suit claim and proceed to consider the question on that basis."

On an examination of the matter, we see considerable force in the reasoning of the Madras High Court that misdelivery should be included in non-delivery (Article 11), because, in such a case, the carrier has neither lost nor injured the goods (Article 10). To put the matter beyond doubt, we recommend that the first column of Article 11 should be revised so as to cover misdelivery.6

1. Union of India v. Ramchand Kishanchand & Co., AIR 1974 Mad 335 (337).

2. Bottamai v. Union of India, AIR 1962 SC 1716.

3. (1972) 74 Punj LR 101.

4. Union of India v. Amar Singh, AIR 1960 SC 233.

5. Union of India v. Amar Singh, AIR 1960 SC 233, para. 18: (1960) 2 SCR 75.

6. See para. 32.17, infra, for a draft.

32.14. Starting point under Article 10.- The third column of Article 10, which prescribes as the starting point the time "when the loss or injury occurs", has created difficulties in the minds of consignors. They argue that if the goods have been lost by the Railways somewhere in transit, it is impossible for them to know the date of such loss.

Dealing with the subject, the Madras High Court1 has held that the period runs from the date of knowledge, and not the date of quantification of the damage, and has observed that the article ought to be grammatically interpreted while applying "the common-sense rule" that the period begins to run from the knowledge of damage or injury. However, observations in another Madras case2 indicate that the starting point would be the date of actual loss. The Allahabad High Court3 has observe.-

"The period of limitation runs from the actual date of loss and not from the date when it comes to the notice of the plaintiff; the date when he comes to know of the loss is utterly irrelevant, not being an ingredient of the cause of action. It is axiomatic that the date of the happening of an event is different from the date of knowledge of the happening. A consignee may not know of loss of the consignment as soon as it takes place and if the law of limitation contained in Article 30 operates harshly upon the consignee, the remedy is with the Legislature and not in distorting the language used in Article 30."

1. M.K.R. Chattiar & Co. v. Union of India, AIR 1971 Mad 34.

2. Union of India v. Ramchatzd Kishanchand & Co., AIR 1974 Mad 335.

3. Oudh and Tirhut RIy. v. Karam Chand, AIR 1958 All 234 (243).

32.15. Recommendation as to Articles 10-11.- Whenever open delivery of goods is taken, the courts have been holding that limitation would begin to run from the date of open delivery which brought to surface the damage to the goods.1 But the problem still survives when open delivery of goods is not given. In order to avoid hardship to consignors, we recommend that the third column in both the articles (Articles 10-11) should be amended so as to make knowledge of the loss, injury, delay, mis-delivery, non-delivery or delay the starting point of limitation.2

1. Union of India v. Kewal Parkash, AIR 1977 Del 146.

2. As to Article 11, First column, see also para. 32.14, supra.

IV Short-Delivery

32.16. Short-delivery.- There was previously some conflict of opinion on the question whether short delivery amounted to "loss" within the meaning of Article 10 or whether it amounted to "non-delivery" within the meaning of Article 11. But the conflict has now been set at rest by the Supreme Court,5 which has held that where a part of the consignment has been delivered, that should be taken to be the date when the goods ought to have been delivered as a whole within the meaning of these words in Article 31 of the Act of 1908 (now Article 11). Consequently, no amendment of the article on this count is called for.

V Recommendation

32.17. Recommendation as to Articles 10-11.- In the light of the above discussion1, we recommend that Articles 10 and 11 should be revised as under:

"10. Against a carrier for compensation for losing or injuring goods.

Three years.

When the plaintiff has knowledge of the loss or injury."
"11. Against a carrier for compensation for non-delivery of, or delay in delivery of goods.

Three. Years.

When the plaintiff has knowledge of the non-delivery, mis-delivery or delay as the case may be ."

32.18. Article 12.- This takes us to Article 12, which reads as unde.-

"For the hire of animals, vehicles, boats or house hold furniture.

Three years.

When the hire becomes payable."

It is identical with Article 50 of the Acts of 1908 and 1877, and with Article 49 of the Act of 1871.

In the original Bill of 1871, the starting point of limitation (as mentioned in the third column) was "the date of the hiring". The Select Committee changed this to "when the hire becomes payable1."

The article needs no change.

1. National Archives, File, No. LEG. Act IX-XVI of 1871, pp. 15, 63.

32.19. Article 13.- Article 13 reads as unde.-

"For the balance of money advanced in payment of goods to be delivered.

Three years.

When the goods ought to be delivered."

It is identical with Article 51 of the Acts of 1908 and 1877, and with Article 50 of the Act of 1871.

Articles 51 to 54 of the Act of 1908 formed the subject-matter of discussion in the Report of the Law Commission on the Act of 1908. The Commission recommended1 that these should all be replaced by one article for suits based on contract or on tort. However, no change has been effected in the Act of 1963 in this regard.

We also do not recommend any change in the article.

1. Law Commission of India, 3rd Report (Limitation Act, 1908), para. 74.

32.20. Article 14.- Article 14 reads as unde.-

"For the price of goods sold and delivered where no fixed period of credit is agreed upon.

Three years.

The date of the delivery of the goods."

It is identical with Article 52 of the Acts of 1908 and 1877, and with Article 51 of the Act of 1871.



The Limitation Act, 1963 Back




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