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Colonial Cases

Minor cases Calcutta

The Singapore Chronicle & Commercial Register, 28 February 1833


   A case of considerable interest was decided in the Supreme Court on Friday.  Not having room for more details, we will confine our report to the leading facts.

   In December, 1824, Palmer & Co. sold a consignment of thirty-six bales of Cotton Twist, which they had received from Messrs. John and James Orr, of Paisley, through Messrs. Cockerell, Trail & Co. to Baboo Rooplull Mullock, ostensibly, but really to his relative Sonatum Dhur under his guarantee,  Rooplull Mullick holding at the time a promissory note for the Firm for a lakh of Rupees.  In the godown sale book of Palmer & Co. an entry was made describing the goods as received on account of James Orr and co. and sold to Rooplull Mullick, whose signature appeared at the foot of the entry.

   A dispute arising about one of the bales which was damaged, the transaction remained unsettled then Palmer & Co. failed, and Rooplull afterwards refused to pay the account to the agent of the parties in England, (of which only 500 Rupees had been paid at the time) alleging that he know nothing of the consigners, but had dealt directly with Palmer & Co. and claiming the right of set off against the promissory note, upon which he had received dividends accordingly from the assignees of Palmer & Co. with that deduction.

   An action was therefore brought against him by Messrs. Orr, who contended that there was no connexion between the two transactions, and that they were entitled to the sum due for their property sold and not paid for: and a verdict was given in their favor for Rs. 15,965.2, and interest at 10 per Cent, according to the terms of the sale, it being held by the Bench, that Rooplull Mullick was bound by the words of the entry, whatever notions he might entertain, and whatever might be the practice of merchants in Calcutta. - Calcutta Courier.


The Canton Times, 15 April 1920

What is a European?


Calcutta, Mar. 17. - At the high court to-day Mr. Justice Greaves disposed of a case of a disputed contract, in which the meaning of the word "European" used in contracts as far as the Calcutta market was concerned was considered.

   This was a suit between two Marwari firms who entered into a contract for the sale of a certain quantity of linseed.  On the date of the contract the plaintiff offered goods but the defendant refused to take delivery.  The matter then went to arbitration.  The plaintiff failed to appoint an arbitrator and the defendant appointer Mr. R. I. Meyer as sub-arbitrator. Plaintiff objected to his appointment on the ground that Mr. Meyer was not a European, as in the arbitration clause of the contract it was stated that any dispute was to be finally settled by two European arbitrators.  Mr. Meyer, however, made awards in favour of the defendant.  Plaintiff then brought the present suit.

   The court held that Mr. Meyer was not a European as he was a Turkish subject, born at Bagdad, and his naturalisation in British India did not make him a European either by birth or descent.  His lordship declared the awards null and void.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School