‘He is only entitled for compensation equal to the composite speed post charges which he has paid and nothing less and nothing more.’
Can one get compensation from post office for the loss suffered by him when there is a delay in delivery of postal articles? Chhattisgarh High court says: No.
The Chhattisgarh High Court in Post Master vs. Rajesh Nag has held that post office is not liable to pay damages for delay in delivery of speed post, postal articles in light of Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898.
Justice Sanjay K Agrawal set aside a permanent Lok Adalat order that granted damages to the extent of Rs. 25,000 to one Rajesh Nag. He had sent some application by speed post to university two days before the last date of submission. As it did not reach within two days, his application got rejected and he was not called for interview.
Assailing the Lok Adalat award, the Post Master had approached the high court contending that in view of provisions contained under Section 6 of the Act of 1898, for delay in transmission of the postal article, the post office is not responsible as the delay has not been caused fraudulently or willingly.
The bench referred to Section 6 of the Act which states the post office, which is run by the government, shall not be liable for delay caused in delivery of the postal articles either by ordinary or registered post, except the liability which may be expressed in terms undertaken by the Central Government.
Indian Post Office Rules, in this regard, state: “In case of delay in delivery of domestic speed post articles beyond the norms determined by the Department of Post from time to time, the compensation to be provided shall be equal to the composite speed post charges paid.” Also “In the event of loss of domestic speed post article or loss of its contents or damage to the contents, compensation shall be double the amount of composite speed post charges paid of Rs, 1,000 whichever is less.”
The court also observed that liability of the post office is not contractual but statutory and that the Post Office is the department of the Central Government and it is not a common carrier.
Setting aside the Lok Adalat order, the court said: “There was delay in course of transmission of the postal article sent by the petitioner to the Bastar University but by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 6 read with Rules of 1933 along with the notification dated 01st October, 2012, the petitioner is not liable to pay damages and respondent No. 1 is only entitled for compensation equal to the composite speed post charges which he has paid and nothing less and nothing more. Therefore, the Permanent Lok Adalat is absolutely unjustified in holding that the petitioner is entitled for Rs.25,000/- ignoring the mandate of Section 6 of the Act of 1898 and the Rules made thereunder merely on the ground that such a compensation is not practical when the Act provides.”