Dalmia Cement Company v Pakistan

CourtHigh Court of Sindh (Pakistan)
Date24 August 1959
Pakistan, Karachi Bench.

(Constantine J.)

Dalmia Cement Co. Ltd.
Federation of Pakistan.

Composite and dependent States and Territories British Commonwealth of Nations India Indian Native States Extent to Which Foreign States in relation to the British Crown The law of Pakistan.

Jurisdiction Territorial limits of Legislation with extraterritorial effect The law of Pakistan.

The facts.The applicants sued the Federation of Pakistan in the Small Causes Court for non-delivery of goods delivered to the N.W. Railway for transmission to a destination in India. The N.W. Railway had transferred the goods to wagons on the Jodhpur Railway at Mirpurkhas, and the wagons had been despatched across the border. This finding was not challenged and therefore the loss of the goods occurred not in Pakistan but in India. For the Federation of Pakistan it was argued that the Railways Act, 1890, under which it was sought to establish the Federation's liability, should not be construed as having extraterritorial effect.

Held: that the application must succeed. When a statute had extraterritorial application when passed, it should continue to be given such a construction.

The Court said: The applicant, therefore, contends that under Section 80 [of the] Railways Act, the N.W. Railway is liable. This section, so far as is material, provides as follows:

Notwithstanding anything in any agreement purporting to limit the liability of a railway administration with respect to traffic while on the railway of another administration, a suit for compensation for loss of goods where goods were booked through over the railways of two or more railway administrations, may be brought either against the railway administration to which the goods were delivered by the consignor thereof, or against the railway administration on which railway the loss occurred.

It is not disputed that the goods had been booked through over the two Railways. Mr. Zahidi contends that despite this section the responsibility of the Railway is merely that of a bailee under the Contract Act, and, therefore, if he proves that on his system no negligence occurred, that is a good defence. This, however, seems to me to make nonsense of Section 80; for otherwise I cannot see any reason why the consignor should be...

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