Tuesday, 31 May 2022



It is also necessary that the defendant’s breach of duty must cause damage to the plaintiff. The plaintiff has also to show that the damage thus caused is not too remote a consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

Res Ipsa Loquitur (Proof of Negligence)

There is a presumption of negligence according to the Latin Maxim “Res Ipsa Loquitur” which means ‘the thing speaks for itself'.

As a rule, the onus of proving negligence is on the plaintiff.

He must not merely establish the facts of the defendant’s negligence and of his own damage, but must show that the one was the effect of the other.

There are, however, certain cases when the plaintiff need not prove that and the interference of negligence is drawn from the facts. 

Thus, direct evidence of negligence is not always necessary and the same may be inferred from the circumstances of the cases.

When the accident explains only one thing, i.e., the accident could not ordinarily occur unless the defendant had been negligent, the law raises a presumption of negligence on the part of the defendant.

In such a case, it is sufficient for the plaintiff to prove accident and nothing more. The defendant can, however,  avoid his liability by disproving negligence on the part.

Case Laws

In Agya Kaur vs Pepsu R.T.C.,  rickshaw going on the correct side of the road was hit by a bus coming on the wrong side of the road. 

The speed of the bus was so high that it, after hitting the rickshaw, also hit the electric pole on the wrong side.

It was held that from these facts the only interference which could be drawn was that the driver of the bus was negligent.

In Manindra Nath Mukherjee vs Mathura Das, where a person fires an explosive which normally flies perpendicular to the sky before it explodes, but it flew at a tangent and fell and burst in the mix of a crowd in a maiden causing injury to a spectator and it was found that the ejection equipment was defective and not properly tested it was held that the defendants were negligent.

In Bryne vs Boalde, the plaintiff was going in a public street when a barrel of flour fell upon him from the defendant's warehouse window.

There was no evidence on the part of the plaintiff as to how the accident happened, beyond the fact that, while on the road, he was knocked down by the barrel, became unconscious and was injured.

Want of care on the part of the defendants was presumed and it was for him to show that the same was not for want of care on his part, for the barrels do not usually fall out from window unless there is want of care.

In Municipal Corporation of Delhi vs Subhagwant  (Clock Tower Case), due to the collapse of the clock tower situated opposite to the Town Hall in the main bazar of Chandni Chowk, Delhi, a number of persons died. 

The clock tower belong to the municipal corporation of Delhi and was exclusively under its control. 

The trial court held that it was the duty of the municipal committee to take proper care of the building so that they should not through a source of damage to the persons using the highway as a matter of right.

The court held that the principle of “Res Ipsa Loquitor” applied to the case and it was the duty of the municipal committee to carry out periodical examination of the building to ascertain any necessary precautions.

The court found from the evidence that apart from superficial examination from time to time, there was no evidence of an examination ever made with a view to see if there were any latent defects making the building unsafe.

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