The concerned enactment being the Carriers Act, 1865 (Act no. 3 of 1865), was one from the British ruling period in India. The Act was enacted and assented by the Governor General in Council on 14th day of February, 1865. The main and basic purpose for which the present legislation makes provisions is for making provisions as to rights and liabilities of the Common Carriers. The provisions of the Act were divided into nine sections and a schedule, however, for making the provisions more effective, the Act was amended several times by both Central and State legislatures, in pre-independence and post Independence period of India.
The first provision of the Act was specifying the short title of the Act, as afore mentioned. And for interpretation of various terms used in the Act, the interpretation clause was given, where such terminologies were defined. The most important terms being ‘Common carrier’ here was meant that person and not the Government who was engaged in the business of transportation of property from one to another place.
It was provided in the Act that, such Common Carriers will not be held responsible for either loss or damage to property having value of more than 100 rupees and is having description as specified in the Schedule annexed with this Act, which was delivered for carrying. However, such claim can only be made against those carriers if the value and description of such goods were expressly declared to such Carriers or agents thereof. The Carriers can require the payment for carrying such goods or property as they are undertaking risk as such. The payment will be at the rate of such amount which will be fixed by such carriers. However, the goods or properties so carried should be of value more than 100 rupees. Further, it is made clear that, when the persons are delivering their properties or goods with declaring their description and value, to the Carriers for carrying them from one place to another, then as they have complied with the requirements of this Act, they should be entitled to recover in case of loss or damage to such properties and such persons will also be entitled to recover all the monies paid by them to the Carriers for such carrying. For loss or damage, the Common Carriers’ liability will not be limited or affected by any public notice, if such loss or damage is caused to the properties such as such container pallet or similar article of transport being useful for consolidating goods which were delivered to him and which were not of the description which is mention in the Schedule annexed to this Act. However, in relation to other given carriers such liability can be limited. Even for causing loss or damage by acts of negligent or criminal acts of the Common carriers or their agents will entail their liabilities to the Owner. Even the plaintiffs in the suits in relation to such loss or damages against the Common carriers are not required prove those losses, damages or even the negligent acts or criminal acts of the said carriers or their agents or servants. It is also made clear that first there should be issued a written notice in relation to such losses or damages to the Carrier before preferring any such suits for recovery against him. And such notice should be of 6 months from the date on which such loss or damage was first came to the knowledge of the Plaintiff.
Lastly, the Act was empowering the State Government to the effect that it can make addition in the list of articles which were provided in the Schedule annexed to this enactment. The said addition were required to be made by first notifying in the Official Gazette and the effect of such addition was to be treated as amendment to that Schedule.
The provisions of the Act as such was providing for carriage of goods or properties by the Common Carriers and effect of losses and damages thereof, however, the said enactment being obsolete was repealed as per the provisions of section 22 of the Carriage by Road Act, 2007, which was enacted by the legislature of the Independent India and was assented by the President on 29th day of September, 2007. The said Act of 2007 was brought into effect from the 1st day of March, 2011, by the notification of the Central Government published in the Official Gazette. However, It was made clear in the said repealing provision that whatever done or if any action was taken in pursuance to the provisions of the present Act of 1865 should not be affected by such repeal.
Download & Read the Bare Act: The Carriers Act, 1865-pdf