Wednesday, 2 February 2022

VICARIOUS LIABILITY

 


VICARIOUS LIABILITY

BY- swatee shukla 

In usual situations, a person is liable for his own wrongful acts and does not incur any liability for acts done by others. However, in certain cases, a person can be held liable for the acts done by others i.e. A can be held liable for a wrong committed by B. In order that A can be held liable, there should be a special relationship between A and B, and the wrongful act should be, in a certain way, connected with that relationship. Such liability of a person for an action or omission of another is called vicarious liability. When an agent commits a tort in the course of the performance of his duty as an agent, the principle can be held liable. The agent is also liable as he has committed the act himself. In essence, both the principal and agent can be held liable for the wrongful act. The plaintiff has the option to either sue the principal, the agent, or both of them. The same principle would be applicable when a wrongful act is done by a partner in an ordinary course of business of the firm. All the other partners would be vicariously liable for the same. The same rule applies to the relationship between a master and a servant. The master is vicariously liable for the wrongful act done by the servant in the course of employment. The liability of the master is in addition to that of the servant.  

In the case of a servant in the course of employment who does a wrongful act, then both the master and servant can be held liable for that act. The wrongful act of servant is deemed to be the act of master as well. The doctrine of the liability of the master for the act of his servant is based on two Latin terms. First, ‘Respondeat superior’ means ‘let the principle be liable’, and it puts the master in a position as though he had done the act himself. The logic behind this maxim is that the principal is in a better position to meet the claim as he is placed in a better position financially. The second Latin term is ‘Qui facit per alium facit per se’ this means ‘he who does an act through another is deemed in law to do it himself.

An agent is someone who acts on your behalf, i.e. an agent is someone who is authorized to do an act by another person and consequently, acts on his behalf. The authority is to do the act may be express r implied. The principal may not expressly ask his agent to do the wrongful act but when the agent acts in the ordinary course of the performance of his duties as an agent, the principal becomes liable for the same. 

The relationship between partners, in a partnership firm, is similar to that existing between a principal and agent. They are all considered as acting jointly for the purpose of business. For the tort committed by any partner in the ordinary course of business of the firm, all other partners are liable to the extent as the guilty partner. For this purpose, any one of the partners, some of them in any possible combination or even all of them together can be sued. That is, the partners are liable jointly or severely.  


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