The term Act of God literally means any situation which is out of human control like natural disasters including tornado, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquakes, tsunami, tidal wave etc. it is a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent. It is based on the principle Vis Major which means “a loss that results immediately from a natural cause without the intervention of man and could not have been prevented by the exercise of prudence, diligence and care.” it is an uncommon, extraordinary and unforeseen manifestation of nature and cannot be prevented by human foresight and care. The events out of human control create destruction and wreck in the lives of people. Many people die and lose their homes and livelihood because of any natural catastrophe.
Many business transactions get on hold and then the question arises who is liable for all the loss? Who will be responsible for compensation and incomplete business transactions? Who will indemnify the person from the loss? The term Act of God is frequently used in various business transactions under Contracts and Torts. Both national and international laws have provisions related to this. The answers to the aforesaid questions are based on the principle of force majeure which means superior force. It is a clause in legal contracts which removes the liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and prevent participants from fulfilling obligations.
Many companies include the clause of act of god as an excuse for not indemnifying and completing the liability.
According to the Law of Torts, the Act of God is used as a general defence by parties and according to it the parties are not held liable as the act was not done intentionally or negligently. The Act of God according to American law also saves the party from being liable for the loss.
There are many cases related to this concept – Nicolas Vs Marshland [(1876) 2 ExD1 ] – in this case, the defendant has a number of artificial lakes on his land. Extraordinary rain such as had never been witnessed in living memory caused the banks of the lakes to burst and the escaping water carried away four bridges belonging to the plaintiff. It was held that the plaintiff’s bridges were swept by an act of God and the defendant was not liable.
Ramalinga Nadar Vs Narayana Redlar (AIR 1971 Ker 197) – In this case it was held that the plaintiff had booked goods with the defendant for transportation. The goods are looted by a mob, the prevention of which was beyond control of the defendant. It was held that an event beyond control of the defendant cannot be said Act of God. It was held that the destructive acts of an unruly mob cannot be considered an Act of God.
The concept of the Act of God is rarely used and many insurance companies having other businesses use it as an excuse for not being liable for the loss. Although the concept is used well when it is proven that the event occurred had the potential for causing extensive personal injury and property damage.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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