Negligence in Indian law
As we all know, that negligence is of two types that is criminal negligence and civil negligence. Criminal negligence is when the person acts in a manner which is very extreme in nature that a reasonable person can neither think or apprehend like that but Civil negligence is when the person even fails to act like a reasonable person or scope of that. It fails to exercise even if its ordinary care or due diligence. In this article, we are going to understand the concept of civil negligence and its significance in the law of torts (India).
For the tort of negligence, there are some essentials which should be present. They are:
Duty of care- One of the important requirements for the tort of negligence is that there should be a duty of care which one person, that is defendant in the legal suit, owes to the another person, plaintiff. There are many duties which a person have towards the another individual like moral, legal, ethical, religious and so on but the duty which is talked here is a legal duty. Also, it cannot be illegal or unlawful in nature.
For example: A was a peon in the chamber of Mr. B. His daily duty was to lock all the doors and windows after the chamber was closed. Once, A went to the shop and drank liquor which took a toll on him. After that he was having a unconscious mind. In that process, he forgot to lock the doors and windows and the next day it was discovered that theft occurred. In this regard, A was liable because there was a duty of care which was not performed.
The duty must be towards the plaintiff- For a case of negligence to be maintainable in the court, it is important that there is a relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant which required the defendant to act in a certain way towards the plaintiff but defendant didn’t react like that. In plain words, the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
Breach of Duty to take care- For a suit to be maintainable, it is important to establish that breach of duty has taken place. It is not enough to only establish that there existed a duty of care. The defendant did not omit or commit something which resulted in the breach of his duty. In plain words, it constitutes the non-observance of a standard of care.
Actual cause or cause in fact- Here, the plaintiff who is filing complaint should prove that the damages incurred by him is a direct cause of the defendant violation of duty. It is also known as ‘but-for’ cause which means but for the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff would not have incurred damages.
Proximate cause- It means the cause which is legally recognized. It recognizes the actions which produced consequences which is easily foreseeable without intervention from anyone else.
Therefore, there are defenses also which are available to the plaintiff like contributory negligence by the plaintiff, an act of god and inevitable accident. So, in order to prove the tort of negligence, it is important to prove all the essential requirements without which the suit is not maintainable in the court of law.