The concept of absolute liability evolved in India after the case of M.C Mehta vs Union of India famously mentioned as Oleum Gas Leak case. This is one among the historic cases within the Indian Judiciary. The case of M.C Mehta is predicated on the principle of strict liability but with no exception got and therefore the individual is formed absolutely responsible for his acts. It is based under this principle that the defendant won’t be allowed to plead defence if he/she was guilty because it was laid down in Ryland vs Fletcher case. After the Bhopal gas leak case many of us lost their lives and are affected by a number of the fatal diseases through the generation and since of this there was an urgent got to develop a rule under strict liability which had no exceptions available to the defendant to flee from the liability. The rule laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court of India is far wider with reference to the principles laid down the House of Lords within the case of Ryland vs Fletcher. It was propounded by the Supreme Court that where an enterprise is engaged during a hazardous or inherently dangerous activity and if any harm results to anybody on account of the accident operational, the enterprise would be held strictly and absolutely susceptible to compensate to all or any those that are suffering from the accident.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ABSOLUTE LIABILITY:
- Dangerous Thing:
As per the principles laid down, the liability of escape of a thing from an individual’s land will arise only the thing which is collected is a dangerous thing that’s a thing which likely causes damage or injury to people face to face or their property on its escape. In various torts cases which have happened everywhere the earth, the doctrine of strict liability has held an outsized body of water, gas, electricity, vibrations, sewage, flag-pole, explosives, noxious fumes, rusty wires etc are certain things which come under the ambit of dangerous things.
Anything which has caused damage or mischief should have escaped from the world which was under the control of the defendant to return under the ambit of absolute liability. Like it happened within the case of Read vs Lyons and Co. where the plaintiff was working as an employee within the defendant’s company which was engaged in manufacturing shells. The accident happened while she was on her duty that day within the company’s premise. It happened when a touch which was being manufactured there exploded and because of which the plaintiff suffered harm. After this incident and a case was filed against the defendant’s company but the court eventually abandoning the defendant and gave the choice that strict liability isn’t applicable here in this particular case. This was declared by the court because the explosion that happened was within the defendant’s premises and not outside. And the concept says that it should have escaped the damaging thing like shell here from the boundaries of the defendant premise which didn’t happen and was missing up here. So, the negligence on a part of the defendant couldn’t be proved within the court.
- Non- Natural Use of Land:
Water collected ashore for domestic purposes doesn’t amount to non-natural use of land but if one is storing it in large quantities like in a reservoir because it was the case in Ryland vs Fletcher then it amounts to non-natural use of land. The difference between natural and non-natural use of land by keeping in mind the encompassing social conditions. As the growing of trees and plants ashore is taken into account as a natural use of land but if one starts growing trees which are poisonous in nature then it will be considered as non-natural use of land.
To form the person liable under this principle, the plaintiff initially must show that the defendant had done the non-natural use of land and escaped the dangerous thing which he has on his land which resulted within the injury further. In the case of Charing Cross Electric Supply Co. vs Hydraulic Power Co., the defendant was assigned to supply water for industrial works. But he was unable to stay their mains charged with a minimum pressure that was required which led to the bursting of the pipeline at different places. This resulted in causing heavy damage to the plaintiff which was proved within the court of law. The defendants were held liable in spite of this that they weren’t guilty. These are the few rules where this doctrine is applied.
As in strict liability, there are some defences which are available to the wrong-doer but in of absolute liability, there are not any defences available and given to the defendant. It was even declared by the courts that absolute liability could even be upheld just in case of single death and there’s no need for any mass destruction or pollution done to the environment.
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.
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