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What Are The Duties Of Bailee | What Is Contract of Bailment

Duties of bailee in the contract of bailment is very important to understand for the goods bailed to bailee by a bailor . In order to understand those duties, we have to discuss the following points which covers an exhaustive compilation of duties.

Duties of Bailee
Duties of Baliee Under Contract Of Bailment

Before discussing the duties of the bailee, we will go through some important sections of the Indian Contract Act,1872, which has to keep in mind when we are studying the concept of bailment.

Duties to disclose fault in good bailed: In the contract of bailment, anything which is bailed, if has any fault or extraordinary risk by the use of it, then the bailor should disclose the fault or any sort of risk in using that particular thing which is bailed. If the bailor does not disclose the fault or any risk associated with the bailed object, then any damage caused to bailee due to the use of an object will be considered as bailor's fault. In the contract of bailment, the weightage of duties of bailee and bailor is equally important.

Section 150 of the Indian contract act, 1872: The above-mentioned explanation was a layman explanation of this section. Now, let's go through the word to word explanation given in the Indian contract act,1872.

This section defines: "The bailor is bound to disclose to the bailee faults in the goods bailed, of which bailor is aware, and which materially interfered with the use of them, or expose the bailee to extraordinary risk; and, if he does not make such disclosure, he is responsible for damage arising to the bailee directly from such faults."

"If such goods are bailed for hire, the bailor is responsible for such damage, whether he was or was not aware of the existence of such faults in the goods bailed."

So, in this section, we got to know about the duties of bailor, and further we will discuss the duties of bailee under a contract of bailment in several points.

1. Duty of care : Duty of care is defined under section 151 of Indian contract act,1872, which states "In all cases of bailment the bailee is bound to take as much care of the goods bailed to him as a man of ordinary prudence would, under similar circumstances , take of his own goods of the same bulk , quantity and value as the goods bailed." In addition to the above duties of bailee , section 152 of Indian contract act,1872, also states "The bailee in the absence of any special contract, is not responsible for any loss, destruction or deterioration of the things bailed, if he has taken the amount of care of it as described in section 151.

2. Unauthorized use of goods : According to section 154 of Indian contract act,1872, which states, under a contract of bailment "If the bailee makes any use of the goods bailed which is not according to the conditions of bailment, He is liable to make compensation to the bailor for any damage arising to the goods from or during such use of them.

3. Mixture of bailor's good with bailee's : The bailee should not mix the goods of the bailor with his own goods. If the bailee mixes up his own goods with those of bailor's , the following rules apply and the same should be discussed in context to duties of bailee :

  • According to section 155 of Indian contract act , 1872, If the bailee , with the consent of the bailor, mixes the goods of the bailor with his own goods , the bailor and the bailee , shall have an interest , in proportion to their respective shares, in the mixture thus produced.

  • According to section 156 of Indian contract act,1872, "If the bailee, without the consent of the bailor , mixes the goods of the bailor with his own goods and the goods can be separated or divided, the property in the goods remain in the parties respectively, but the bailee if bound to bear the expense of separation or division, and any damage arising from the mixture".

4. Right of third person claiming goods bailed : This is the fourth point of duties of bailee , According to section 167 of Indian contract act,1872, "If a person other than the bailor claims goods bailed he may apply to the court to stop delivery of the goods to the bailor and to decide the title to the goods."

5. Right of finder of goods,may sue for specific reward offered : According to section 168 of Indian contract act,1872, "The finder of goods has no right to sue the owner for compensation for trouble and expense voluntarily incurred by him to preserve the goods and to find out the owner; but he may retain the goods against the owner until he receive such compensation; and where the owner has offered a specific reward for the return of goods lost, the finder may sue for such reward, and may retain the goods until he receives it." This point under duties of bailee especially focuses on the right of finder of goods.

6. When finder of thing commonly on sale may sell it : According to section 169 of Indian contract act,1872, "When a thing which is commonly the subject of sale is lost,if the owner cannot with reasonable diligence be found, or if he refuses upon demand, to pay the lawful charges of the finder, the finder may sell it."

  • When the thing is in danger of parishing or of losing the greater part of its value, or

  • When the lawful charges of the finder, in respect of the thing found, amount to two-thirds of its value.

7. Duties of bailee of returning goods : According to section 160 of Indian contract act,1872, "It is the duty of the bailee to return, or deliver according to the bailor's direction, the goods bailed, without demand, as soon as the time for which they were bailed has expired, or the purpose for which they were bailed has been accomplished."

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