In part one we learnt about the meaning of right to lien as well as laws relating to particular lien in contract of bailment in this part we shall continue with general lien that is another type of right to lien in contract of bailment and further provisions relating to bailment.
Section 171 provides for the right of “general lien,” which means the right to hold the goods bailed as security for a general balance of account while the right of particular lien allows a bailee to detain only the property for which charges are owed. However, a general lien allows the bailee to detain any goods bailed to him for any amount owed to him, whether in relation to those goods or any other goods. For instance the the Kerala High Court in Nakulan v. Dy.G.M.,Canara Bank, AIR 2014 Ker. 64 held that the Bank could keep the gold ornaments offered as security if the petitioner had not discharged liability in respect of another personal loan obtained by him, especially when the said personal loan lacked any security.
Section 171 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 confers the right of general lien in favour of certain kinds of bailment . The provision is as follows:
“General lien of bankers, factors, wharfingers, attorneys and policy-brokers.—Bankers, factors, wharfingers, attorneys of a High Court and policy-brokers may, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, retain as a security for a general balance of account, any goods bailed to them; but no other persons have a right to retain, as a security for such balance, goods bailed to them, unless there is an express contract to that effect.1 —Bankers, factors, wharfingers, attorneys of a High Court and policy-brokers may, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, retain as a security for a general balance of account, any goods bailed to them; but no other persons have a right to retain, as a security for such balance, goods bailed to them, unless there is an express contract to that effect.”
In simple words he right of general lien has been given on the following kinds of bailees:
(•) Attorney of a High court and
The right is only available to the types of bailees listed above, but the line “unless there is an express contract to that effect ” make it clear that parties by way of an contract can grant a bailee the right of general lien between them, but without any such agreement a bailee normally only have the right of particular lien.
The right to lien in contract of bailment is very important to understand as we might encounter sceneries relating to it in our day to day life. The right to lien has two types specific lien and general lien. The specific lien is available to bailee in normal circumstances unless the parties to bailment enter in a contract contrary to it. It is important to note that the general bailment is available to five types of bailment without any specific contract in that regard.
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