Business Law

ATUL MEHRA v. BANK OF MAHARASHTRA

Case Analysis by Shivi Khare & Satyam Kumar

Appellant: Atul Mehra

Respondent: Bank of Maharashtra

FACTS

The case was recorded at the Trial Court by Atul Mehra, the appealing party in present court, whereby issue Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were ruled against him and issue No. 4 was ruled against the Respondent as it was not squeezed. The suit was excused with costs. Along these lines, an intrigue was recorded by the appealing party for this situation, Atul Mehra, in the Lower Appellate Court which has maintained the discoveries given by the educated Trial Court. Henceforth, the current Regular Second Appeal.

Atul Mehra (for example the litigant) in the current intrigue had recruited storage No. 75 on fifteenth January 1986 at Bank of Maharashtra (for example the respondent). He had stored adornments in the said storage the estimation of which he asserted as Rs 4,26,160.

The solid room where the storage was found was broken in and the substance thereof were taken by scoundrels. On ninth January 1989 a FIR for the equivalent was documented. It was expressed in the FIR that all other 43 storage spaces in the solid room were likewise broken in and substance thereof taken.

On second February 1989, all the 44 storage holders made portrayal to the bank by an enlisted affirmation properly calling attention to the gross carelessness and offense of the respondent in keeping up the storage spaces. They have battled that the supposed solid room was made up issue and it was made uniquely of compressed wood, though it should have been made of iron and cement.

On twentieth February 1989, a portrayal with this impact was additionally made to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar.

On 21st July 1989, the police had made a report about the deficient solid room and the storage spaces in that.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the plaintiffs have suffered loss due to misconduct and negligence by the defendant?
  2. If issue No. 1 is proved, whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recover any amount. If so, to what amount?
  3. Whether the defendant-Bank has no contractual liability to make good loss incurred by the plaintiffs?
  4. Whether the plaintiffs have no cause of action or locus standi to file the present suit?
  5. Would the relationship between the locker hirer and the bank fall within the definition of bailment as given in Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, merely on the locker being hired; or is it necessary also to prove by independent evidence entrustment, quantity, quality and value of the property claimed?

ARGUMENTS

By appellant

It was additionally contended that crucial bits of proof were not considered by the later courts. Mr Chibbar had referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment on account of Ishwar Dass Jain v. Sohan Lal where it has been held that “the High Court can meddle with the simultaneous discoveries of certainty recorded by the Courts underneath if fundamental bits of proof have not been viewed as which, whenever considered, would have prompted an alternate conclusion”.

As indicated by the scholarly Counsel, when the connection between the appealing party and respondent is set up as that of bailor and bailee, the absence of information with respect to the respondent would be of no effect to their risk to remunerate the litigant. It was contended over and over by the Counsel that the connection between the gatherings is that of bailment as characterized under Section 148 of Indian Contract Act, 1872.

The educated Counsel has relevantly contended that if the bailee embraces to mind a few products for remuneration, however neglects to create them to the bailor when requested to do as such, it is a sensible derivation that the bailee has been negligent. Henceforth, in the current case, it is sensible to surmise that the respondent has at any rate been careless.

The scholarly direction for the Appellant, Mr R. K. Chhibbar has contended that both the lower courts have failed in the judgment since they had put together their discoveries with respect to the instance of Mohinder Singh Nanda v. Bank of Maharashtra which he fights to be per incuriam.

Chhibbar, learned Senior Advocate, has likewise contended that both the scholarly Courts beneath have neglected to pay heed to the way that the solid room, just as the storage spaces, had been worked in repudiation of the rules on security game plans in the banks gave by the Indian Banks Association and the rules gave by the Reserve Bank of India. As indicated by the scholarly Counsel, these rules are to be carefully interpreted and solid room was to be worked as per the particular given in that. Learned Counsel has additionally called attention to that even DW-1, P. K. Aggarwal, Senior Manager of the respondent-Bank, had conceded that the rules gave by the Indian Banks Association are authoritative.

By Respondent

 Mr Ashok Pal Jaggal, learned advice for the Respondent, has advanced the contention that the understanding between the gatherings establishes the relationship of landowner and occupant. The understanding uses the expression “lease and hirer”. This relationship can’t be likened with bailment. He has depended on Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act which accommodates giving a notification for end of the tenure. The employing understanding between the two gatherings accommodates a composed notification of end.

JUDGEMENT

The Bench, including Justice S.S. Nijjar, has held that restrictive ownership of the products is sine qua non for bailment. Consequently, negligible employing of a storage would not be adequate to comprise an agreement of bailment as gave under Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. He has included that the subject of sensible consideration and quantum of harms would emerge simply after it has been demonstrated that genuine select ownership of the property was given by the bailee to the bailor, for example the bank. Since the bank didn’t know about the substance of the storage, subsequently it was difficult to know the amount, quality or the estimation of the gems that was supposedly kept in the storage when the theft happened. The appealing party’s just proof was of an observer’s explanation that “he can’t concede or deny that there were adornments weighing 1273 grams worth Rs. 4,26,160/ – are kept in the storage”. The appointed authority held it deficient to demonstrate that the appealing party had depended the adornments to the respondent. Learned appointed authority has additionally included that the appellants alone had the information on the substance of the storage. No adequate proof had been created by the offended parties for the equivalent. The offended party in this manner had neglected to demonstrate entrustment of the adornments to establish bailment.

On the contention of Mr Jaggal that the connection between the two gatherings is of landowner and hirer, it was said that it can’t be said that such a relationship existed on the grounds that the alleged hirer (the offended party) didn’t have direct access to the land that he has recruited and the help of the bank representatives is required in doing as such.

The appointed authority has likewise alluded to the Mohinder Singh Nanda’s case which alludes to a similar occurrence of the burglary of 44 storage spaces. The appointed authority had held that it isn’t per incuriam thus a similar will be official on this court. For this situation, it was held that there was no selective belonging to the bank consequently no pay was permitted to the offended party. The lower courts have likewise depended on this judgment and the current court has set up that there is no mistake in doing as such.

In another case the appointed authority alluded to sets out a similar rule that it must be demonstrated that the bailor knew about the estimation of the property and was endowed with its protection. The bank, for this situation, was endowed with the adornments and the valuation of the gems had been demonstrated with adequate proof delivered to the police at the hour of the theft. The bank was held at risk for carelessness in light of the fact that the theft was submitted by the administrator inside the bank itself. The adjudicator has declared that the offended parties have wretchedly neglected to demonstrate the entrustment of the adornments which was supposedly kept in the storage. There is no evidence of any sort to show the estimation of the adornments which was kept in the storage. No master observer has been created to show that the adornments referenced in the plaint would merit the sum asserted.

The intrigue was ruled for the Respondent.

ANALYSIS

The entire choice depends on a past judgment by a similar court which identifies with a similar episode of theft of Bank of Maharashtra’s 44 storage spaces. This judgment has set out an essential standard with regards to conveyance of ownership of merchandise in an agreement of bailment. It has essentially set out that the bailee must be made mindful of the substance of anything he gets for safe authority in order to check the measure of any conceivable risk that may emerge later on. For this situation, the bank had no information on the quality, amount or nature of merchandise kept inside the storage.

The court has been directly in giving this ruling for the respondents since considering the bank answerable for the loss of any merchandise kept in the storage by their clients would offer ascent to uncountable measure of risk as it might be discovered hard to demonstrate that there was no select ownership of the substance of the storage. Such uncountable obligation would likewise demoralize banks to give such an office which is right now used by innumerable number of individuals around the world. The judgment goes about as a decent point of reference as it mitigates the duty of the banks somewhat which is totally required in to permit them to offer support to people in general. The obligation of the substance of a bank storage is set on the client itself as long as he has a section in getting to the storage spaces while the risk would without a doubt move to the bank if there should arise an occurrence of penetrate of trust on any of worker’s parts.

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