Respondeat Superior

Respondeat Superior

Literal Meaning

Let the principal answer.

Explanation

The doctrine laid down by this maxim provides that a party is responsible for (has vicarious liability for acts of their agents. This rule is also called as master-servant rule in many jurisdictions. This vicarious liability of such nature is referred to as ‘vicarious liability’.

Illustration

‘A’ was working in the garage owned by ‘B’. While repairing the car of ‘C’, ‘A’ broke one of the component of the car which was worth Rs.20,000. ‘B’ was held to be vicariously liable for the damage caused by ‘A’. 

Indian Law Position

Vicarious liability falls under tort law, and as India does not have codified tort law, there is no particular legislation which provides for the vicarious liability. However, it should be noted that Section 182 to Section 238 of the Indian Contract Act deals provides provision regarding nature of principal – agent relationship as well as extends the liabilities of both principal and agent.

Cases Referred

Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation v.Kulsum and Ors. 

In this case the honorable Supreme Court of India considered the principle of Respondeat Superior.[1]

Smt. Savita Garg v. The Director, National Heart Institute

In this case the honorable Supreme Court referred the principle of Respondent Superior. [2]

The State Of Bihar v. Rani Sonabati Kumari

In the above mentioned case the principle of Respondent Superior was considered by the honorable Supreme Court of India.[3]

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference

[1] Indian Contract Act 1872, s. 38

[2] Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation v.Kulsum and Ors., (2011) 8 SCC 142. 6

[3] Smt. Savita Garg v. The Director, National Heart Institute, Appeal (civil)  4024 of 2003.

[4] The State of Bihar v. Rani Sonabati Kumari, 961 AIR 221.

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