The finder of the lost goods may be the one who finds the goods of another person presumably not knowing the true owner at that point. Now the question is what’s lost and the way it’s lost? The solution is that the goods are lost when the owner has involuntarily parted with the possession of the products which he is blind to its location. However, the owner intentionally places the products somewhere in order that they may be found again in due course, but the owner subsequently forgets where it absolutely was placed, it is often said that the products are lost. An individual who finds the lost goods doesn’t acquire absolute ownership of the goods. Similarly, when the products are in someone’s possession, he cannot be considered as a finder of the products. The individual who acquires possession of lost goods is the best owner and has superior rights on the products over anyone except the actuality owner. During this circumstance, the finder is just the apparent owner. The finder’s title on the products could also be forfeited upon discovery of the true owner, whose title is unaffected by the fact that the products have been lost. A finder’s title is contingent upon the possible discovery of the verity owner. Therefore, the finder cannot transfer the title to a different person. 

Brief Overview

Responsibility of the finder of good is laid down in Section 71 of Indian Contract Act, 1872 which states that “a person who finds goods which are belonging to others and takes them into his custody, is subject to the same responsibility as a bailee.” A finder of the products is subject to the same responsibilities and liabilities as those of the bailee’s of products. He has to take the same degree of care and caution in respect of the goods found as the bailee has in respect of the products bailed to him. The one who finds goods belonging to a different person is entitled to retain the products against the owner until he gets compensation from him. He has the right of lien against the goods for expenses he incurred in preserving the goods within safe custody, but this doesn’t give him the right to sue the finder for the difficulty and expenses incurred by him. He can sue the owner for the reward where a particular reward has been offered. The finder of the products is entitled to its possession as against everyone except the real owner. Thus, as an example, X picked up a diamond on the ground of Y’s shop and handed it to Y to give it to the owner, who would appear. In Spite of wide advertisements within the newspapers, nobody seemed to claim it. After some time, X tendered to Y the expenses of advertisement and indemnity bond and requested him to return the diamond, but Y refused to do so. Y was held accountable for damages, and X was held entitled to urge the possession and to retain the nice as against everyone except the true owner. If a finder dishonestly appropriates to his own use when he knows the owner or has the means of discovering verity owner, he’s guilty of criminal misappropriation of property. But when he takes the property for the aim of protecting it or restoring it to the owner, he’s clean-handed of any offense. Furthermore, an individual who, on finding lost goods, takes charge of the great is termed the finder of the lost goods, and his position is that of bailee of products (Sec. 171 of the Contract Act, 1872). The finder is under an obligation, to take care of the products as a person of ordinary prudence would take, under similar circumstances, of his own goods. Secondly, he is bound to return the products to the actuality owner. These are the quasi-contractual obligations of a finder of products.

Edited by: Harsh Nath Tiwari

Approved by: Purnima Ojha