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Different Trends of Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability, also known by the Latin term respondeat superior, or by imputed liability, is a legal concept that assigns liability to an individual who did not actually cause the harm, but who has a specific superior legal relationship to the person who did cause the harm. Originated from English Common Law. This principle originates from the maxim, Qui Facit per Alium Facit per sewhich means he who does an act through another is deemed in law to do it himself. Constituents of Vicarious Liability include.
(1) There must be a relationship of a certain kind.
(2) The wrongful act must be related to the relationship in a certain way.
(3) The wrong has been done within the course of employment.

Under Civil Law

An act is deemed to be done in the course of employment if the authority to give a wrongful act is given by the master to the servant; or some legal act is done by the servant in an illegal way. By these one can be made liable in civil law:
·If there be some relationship between the wrongdoer and the other party.
·If the person abets the wrongful act or omission committed by the other person.
·If the former ratifies or authorizes the act of the other knowing that the act committed or omission done was tortious in nature.
·As standing towards the party who committed a wrong in such a relation that it entails responsibility for the acts or omission done by the other person.

Under Criminal Law

The principle which is followed in the criminal law is that a person may be held liable as the principal offender, even though the actus reus was committed by some other person. The law focuses on the relationship between the two parties and attributes the act of the one to the other. It should be noted that the concept of vicarious liability is a civil concept and in the case of criminal law it is an exception rather than a rule.Under Section 149of the IPC if any member of an unlawful assembly commits any offense in furtherance of a common objective, every member of that unlawful assembly will be held liable for that offence. Section 154[3]says If such occupier or owner or any person who has some interest in the piece of land does not inform the proper public authority about unlawful assembly on that land, will also be held liable for such activities..Section 155[4]also makes a person vicariously liable on the owner or occupier of the land for the omission of their agent or manager if any activity takes place on the land and the agent or manager does not prevent illegal activities happening on their property.

Vicarious Liability Of State

In India our Constitution is supreme and the doctrine King can do no wrong has no applicability. And thus, state can be made party and be made liable vicariously for the acts of its employees and thus state.The position of State liability as stated in Article 300of the Constitution is that the Government of India may sue or be sued by the name of the Union of India and the Government of a State may sue or be sued by the name of the State;

In, Shambhu Nath Singh and Ors. v/s State of Bihar AIR 1960 SC 725,it was said that Section149of the Indian Penal Code is declaratory of the vicarious liability of the members of an unlawful assembly for acts done in prosecution of the common object of that assembly or for such offences as the members of the unlawful assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object.

In, Superintendent and Remembrance of Legal Affairs, West Bengal v/s Corp. of Calcutta AIR 1960 SC 1355,it was held. Civil and criminal statues now apply to citizens and state alike and state is equally bound.

In, Aneeta Hada and Ors. v/s. Godfather Travels and Tours Pvt. Ltd. and Ors.AIR2012 SC2795,it was laid down that a corporate entity can also be held liable vicariously for the wrongful acts.

In Vinubhai Ranchhodbhai Patel v/s. Rajivbhai Dudabhai Patel and Ors AIR 2018 SC 2472 it was said that Section 149 propounds a vicarious liability in two contingencies by declaring that if a member of an unlawful assembly commits an offence in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, then every member of such unlawful assembly is guilty of the offence committed by the other members of the unlawful assembly and also even in cases where all the members of the unlawful assembly do not share the same common object to commit a particular offence, if they had the knowledge of the fact that some of the other members of the assembly are likely to commit that particular offence in prosecution of the common object.

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