Q.12 – Describe the liabilities of railway carriage of goods.
Ans: DEFINITION OF RAILWAY
Section 3(4) of the Railway Act 1890 defines Railway as:
“Railway means a Railway or any portion of a Railway for the public carriage of passengers animals or goods”.
Railway considers as most economical and fast means of transportation in all over the world. Bulky raw materiel and heavy plant and machinery can easily transfer from one place to another place by a very low rate of freight. Railway is controlled and manages by government, so it is not considered as common carrier under carriage of goods act 1865 railway is governed by railway at 1890.
To be common carrier a person must be (a) engaged in the in the business of Transporting and (b) the person must be other than government. Railway is not regarded as a common carrier in respect of its liabilities but due to its duties are concerned to the general public it is as common carrier.
LIABILITIES OF RAILWAY AS CARRIAGE OF GOODS
1. LIBAILITY AT “RAILWAY RISK”
When the goods are carried at “railway risk rate” (which is a higher rate) the liability of railway for loss of goods during transit shall be that of an insurer. In such a case the railway shall be liable if the goods are stolen or damaged due to an accident even without negligence on his part of Railway. (Sec. 73)
2. LIABILITY AT “OWNER RISK”
When the goods are carrier at owner’s risk rate” (which is a lower rate) the railway administration shall be liable for any loss or damages to such goods during the transit only when it is proved that such loss or damages is caused by negligence or misconduct of the railway or its servant. (Sec. 74)
3. LIABILITY FOR DELAY IN TRANSIT
The railway administration is responsible for loss destruction, damage or deterioration of animals or goods caused by the delay unless it is prove that such delay arises without negligence or misconduct of railway administration.
4. LIABILITY FOR WRONG DELIVERY
Where the railway administration delivers the goods or animals in good faith to a person who produces the original railway receipt, it shall not be responsible on the ground that such person is not legally entitled thereto.
5. LIABILITY AFTER TERMINATION OF TRANSIT
The liability of railway during seven days after termination of transit is that of a bailee. After the expiry of seven days after termination of transit, the railway is not liable in any case for the loss, destruction or deterioration of goods carried by the railway.
6. LIABILITY AS CARRIER OF ANIMALS
The liability of the railway administration for loss destruction etc. of animal delivered to it for carriage shall not exceed the following limits.
(a) For an elephant Rs. 50,000
(b) For a mule or a horned cattle or camel Rs. 15.000
(c) For a horse Rs. 10,000
(d) For a dog, a donkey, a pig, a sheep or other animal or bird. Rs. 1,000
However, the railway accepts a higher liability if the consignor declares a higher value in the “forwarding note” and pays a higher freight (Sec. 73(1) the Railways (Amendment) Act, 1995)
7. LIABILITY FOR CARRIAGE OF PASSENGER’S LUGGAGE
The railway is not liable for the luggage of a passenger which is not booked and which the passenger takes with him.
8. LIABILITY FOR SCHEDULED GOODS
When articles of extra ordinary value as mentioned in Second Schedule to (he Act (e.g. gold, silver, currency notes etc.) are contained in any parcel or package delivered for carriage and the value of such articles exceed Rs. 10,000 the railway administration shall not be liable for the loss, destruction etc of such parcel or package unless the person delivering the same has declared the value and contents therefore in the “forwarding note” and if so required by the administration paid a higher freight for (he increased risk. [Sec. 75 (1), the Railways (Amendment) Act, 1995)
9. LIABILITY FOR ACCIDENTS OF PASSENGERS
If a passenger dies or is injured as a result of railway accident, the railway administration shall be liable to pay Rs. 100,000 to the heirs of the deceased and Rs. 10,000 to the injured person- (Sec 82 (a), The Railways (Amendment) Act, 1995).
10. LIMITATION FOR FILING A SUIT
A suit against the railway for compensation for loss, destruction etc of the goods must be instituted within one year when such loss occurs. The suit for compensation for loss due to delay in delivery or non-delivery must be instituted within one year when the goods ought to be delivered.
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