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Section 73 of the railway’s act, 1989 provides a statutory right to the railway administration to reweigh the consignment – Jharkhand High Court

Section 73 of the railway’s act, 1989 provides a statutory right to the railway administration to reweigh the consignment – Jharkhand High Court

The present appeal under Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 against the judgment passed by railway claims tribunal to direct the appellant to refund Rs. 3,71,328/- to the respondents. The appeal is filed against the judgment and is heard and allowed by a single judge bench of HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE GAUTAM KUMAR CHOUDHARY in the case of Union of India versus M/s. Muva Industries Ltd and Ors. (M.A. No. 30 of 2011)

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants submitted that by the order number RCT/DLI/Judl.Policy/2002-2003 of railway claims tribunal,13/15 Moldova daily. the pecuniary jurisdiction of the concerned single bench is restricted to ₹ 2 lakhs (Rupees Two Lakhs), except in untoward and train accident cases, and according to the proviso to Section 4(4) of the Railways Claims Criminal Act 1987, the single-member should have referred/transferred the matter to a bench of two members to a division bench as the matter demands and apart from the jurisdiction issue raised it was also submitted that there is provision to re-weigh and there was nothing wrong on the part of the Railway authorities to have a reweighed the consignment and during rebooking of the consignment the punitive charges were paid by the respondent without any objection and once the excess weight is accepted then the plea against overloading and consequent punitive charges cannot be raised. It was further argued that in LPA No. 493 of 2010, the Hon’ble Court was pleased to permit the appellant to withdraw the appeal and the writ and therefore the order passed by Hon’ble. the single Judge in the writ petition does not bar the appellant from preferring the instant appeal.

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents submits that the Hon’ble single Bench in W.P.(C) No. 274 of 2010 has already confirmed the order of the tribunal and dismissed the writ. And as far the issue of pecuniary jurisdiction is concerned it is apparent from the order passed in LPA No. 493 of 2010 and the earlier order passed by Hon’ble single Judge in W.P.(C) No. 274 of 2010 has not been interfered with and therefore cannot be reopened in this appeal. The respondent also submits that Section 21(2) of the CPC and that objection as to the competence of a Court regarding the pecuniary limits of its jurisdiction cannot be allowed in appeal or revision unless the objection was taken in the Court of the first instance at the earliest opportunity.

The court finds merit in the appeal and the matters into consideration that whether the Railways had the right to reweigh the consignment and whether the necessary procedure was followed. Section 78 of the Railways Act 1989 lays down specific power to reweigh the consignment and relies on the case of Union of India v. Shree Shiv Sai Steel Industries, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 5715 : (2020) 1 Gau LR 426 : (2019) 203 AIC (Sum 20) 9 at page 428 and on the case of Jagjit Cotton Textile Mills v. Chief Commercial Supdt., N.R., (1998) 5 SCC 126 at page 147 and finds and main ground which the application for refund has been allowed by the learned Tribunal is that none of the representatives were present at the time when the consignment was being reweighed.

Section 73 of the railway’s act specifically provides that the railway administration may reweigh the consignment and recalculate the freight and other charges before the delivery of the goods and makes it a statutory right of railway administration to consider all sorts of malpractices and under the impugned circumstances of the case the present appeal is allowed and the impugned order was set aside.

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Judgment Reviewed by Naveen Sharma

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