Rights and Duties of Bailor and Bailee Business Law: ICOMC Rights and Duties of Bailor and Bailee

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rights and duties of bailor and bailee is a common law term and involves the change of possession, i.e., delivery of goods or personal property by one person to another, but the ownership remains unchanged. Chapter IX of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 deals with the sections regarding the Contract of Bailment. It is the duty of the bailor to keep for hire only the goods which are fit for the purpose for which they are being hired. There is a duty to take reasonable care to make the goods reasonably safe for the purpose for which they are being hired.

bailment is gratuitous

Started by NLU grads,LawBhoomiis a portal that provides information on the latest internships, jobs, legal opportunities, law notes, career guidance, study materials, and books for various exams like the judiciary, CLAT PG, AIBE, CLAT UG, etc. Apart from all these, interviews and internship experiences help students explore more opportunities in law. A lien provides a creditor with the legal right to seize and sell thecollateralproperty or asset of a borrower who fails to meet the obligations of a loan or contract. The property that is the subject of a lien cannot be sold by the owner without the consent of the lien holder.A floating lienrefers to a lien on inventory or other unfixed property. Various types of bailments will give the bailor the right to expect some kind of duty of care for the good by the bailee.

As mentioned above, the bailee is given custody of a piece of property, but cannot legally lay a claim of ownership to it. This means the bailor is still the rightful owner, even while the goods are in the bailee’s possession. However, the bailee is responsible for the property’s safekeeping and the eventual return of the goods. The bailee should return the items to the bailor without any request if the bailing purpose is achieved or the period of time for which the goods were bailed has expired. If he doesn’t do so, it will hold the items at his risk and he will be liable for any loss or damage to the goods.

Bailee’s right to lien

The word ‘bailment’ has been originated from the French word ‘bailler’ which means ‘to deliver’. The term has been described in Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. A bailor is an individual who temporarily entrusts possession of a good or other property to another party under a bailment agreement. Bailment describes the transfer of property from a bailor, who temporarily relinquishes possession but not ownership of the property, to a bailee.

Different sections of this Chapter IX provide for different duties of bailee about the goods bailed to him. Duties of Bailee also depend on upon the very object of the contract of bailment.The obligations of bailee on the goods bailed to him depend on the terms and conditions mentioned in the contract he has entered into. In other words, his duty towards the goods arises at that time when the purpose for which goods are bailed is completed.

The Carriers Act, 1865, The Carriage Act of Goods by Sea Act, 1925 and The Railways Act, 1890, are the few Acts which deal with special types of bailment. The following rights are provided to the bailor by the Contract Act. If the underlying obligation is not satisfied, the creditor may be able to seize the asset that is the subject of the lien.

In such a case, the bailee may give notice to the bailor who is then bound to take it back. The bailee has to perform according to the obligations laid down in the contract of bailment and as per the law of the land. He is being inconsistent or negligent while performing his obligation or duty would make him liable under various provisions of law. In each contract of law, he has a certain uniform or fixed obligations to comply with, and he cannot part with those basic obligations even if a contract does not provide for any such obligations. The obligations might differ depending on the facts but there are certain duties which are implied, and reasonable care is to be taken by the bailee.

The bailee’s relationship to the bailor, who hands over the property, is established by a contractual agreement called a bailment. This relationship, referred to in legal terms as a bailment, is based on a contractual agreement between the bailor and the bailee. The bailment specifies the terms and purpose of the change in custody and is outlined in writing such as a receipt or chit. A bailee is an individual who temporarily gains possession, but not ownership, of a good or other property.

Know the Formation, Independence And Functions of the Election Commission of India

The Bailor has the right to give directions to the Bailee, regarding the manner of dealing with the goods bailed, which have to be obliged by the bailee. In case where the goods are transferred to pay a debt or to fulfil a promise, the Bailor has the full right to get the possession of the goods back in case of fulfilment of the promise or the payment of the debt, whatever the case may be. The Bailor is the owner or the possessor of the goods and possession is central to bailment.

  • The bailee ensures the assets are kept safe until the owner of those assets is able to resume management, and cannot use them at any time for personal reasons.
  • Also, the bailee needs to look after the goods to the same extent whether the bailment is for reward or gratuitous.
  • Section 151 of the Contract Act provides that the bailee is under obligation to take care of the goods bailed to him as an ordinarily prudent man in his place would have taken under the similar situation.
  • If described in legal terms, a lien is a legal right or claim assets that are strictly used as collateral to fulfill a debt.

A tenant-landlord relationship may also exist where the landlord assumes the role of bailor in leasing their property to another. As per Section 164 of the Indian Contract Act, the bailor is obligated to the bailee for any loss which the bailee may suffer by the reason that the bailor was not allowed to make the bailment or to transfer back the goods or to give instructions regarding the goods. In this case, a bank received money from his customer with direction to transfer it telegraphically to his own firm which was at another place. Here, it was laid down that the bank could not retain it as it was not provided to it for the objective of bailment. The major difference between a pledge and a lien is the right to sell.


Bailee’s customer insurance protects businesses against damage or loss of customer property that is in their possession. Some bailees are required to take possession of a piece of property but may charge bailors for a particular service. For example, a mechanic becomes a bailee when he agrees to keep and do maintenance work on a customer’s car. There are two types of bailments – gratuitous bailment and non-gratuitous bailment/ bailment for reward. If it is not possible to detach the goods, the bailee shall compensate the bailor for the loss of goods.

Bailment: Definition, How It Works, Types, and When It Ends – Investopedia

Bailment: Definition, How It Works, Types, and When It Ends.

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In bailment, possession of products or goods is transferred or delivered, but property i.e., ownership of goods is not transferred. Bailment is restricted to tangible goods only and cannot be practiced upon immovable goods such as land, lake, building, factory, etc since the delivery of goods is an essential of bailment and immovable goods cannot be delivered or transferred. A bailment without consideration is referred to as a gratuitous bailment. Neither the bailor nor the bailee has the entitlement to any pay or reward under such bailment arrangements. In certain situations the standard of care of care is increased the i.e., special degree of care is required to be fulfilled. InPitt Son and Badgery Ltd v Proulefco SA, a wool broker sold wool but retained it in his store.

Click aboveIn Sheik Mohamed v. the British Indian Steam Navigation Co. A bailee shall return the bailed goods along with any escalation or profit arising to the goods to the bailor, in the non-appearance of any contract to the contrary. If the goods can be detached or divided, the material in the goods remains with both the parties. But, the bailee bears the expenses of separation or any damages arising from the combination of such goods. Therefore, if the bailee takes good care of goods then he will not be accountable for any loss, degradation of such goods.


The sale of products differs from the sale of goods as the sale involves the transfer of ownership of the commodities. All essential features must be met in order for the bailment contract to be legal. Both the bailor and the bailee have certain rights and duties to be complied with, wherever applicable.

The expected standard of care of a gratuitous bailee is the same as that of a non-gratuitous bailee. In all cases of bailment, a uniform standard of care is to be maintained, that is, a level of care that a man of ordinary caution would take of his own property of the same sort and in similar conditions. If the care dedicated by the bailee drops below this standard, he will be responsible for loss of or damage to the property. Delivery of possession – The first significant element of bailment is the handover of possession from one person to another. For the purpose of bailment the property must be given over to the bailee. Once this happens, a bailment takes place regardless of the manner in which it occurs.

Not to make unauthorized use

In Shaw & Co. v Symmons & Sons, The plaintiff entrusted the defendant, a bookbinder, with books to be bound and the latter promised to deliver them in a fair amount of time. After the plaintiff requested the defendant to deliver all the books, the defendant could not deliver them within a reasonable amount of time and they were subsequently burned in his premises in an unintentional fire. The defendant was judged accountable for the destruction of the books. There is no issue of establishing any defence such as “act of God” or “inevitable accident” when the loss takes place while the wrong act of the bailee’s occurs.

  • But it is an established principle that the right to lien may be exempted if there exists a contract against it.
  • However, there are also involuntary or statutory liens whereby a creditor seeks legal action for non-payment, and as a result, a lien is placed on assets including property and bank accounts.
  • One of the essentials of a contract of bailment is that once the purpose for which goods are bailed is accomplished, the bailee has to return the goods back to the bailor or dispose of as per the direction of the bailor.
  • Additionally, the obligation of a bailee includes not only the duty to take all reasonable precautions to obviate the risks but also the duty of taking all proper measures for the protection of the goods when such risks had already occurred.
  • A bailor transfers possession, but not ownership, of a good to another party, known as the bailee, under an agreement known legally as bailment.

He previously held senior editorial roles at Investopedia and Kapitall Wire and holds a MA in Economics from The New School for Social Research and Doctor of Philosophy in English literature from NYU. If a bailor gives goods to another person for transport or for some other reason and the items are harmful, the fact should be disclosed to the bailee. Similarly in Reed v Dean, for a holiday in the Thames river, the plaintiffs hired the defendant’s motorboat launch. The launch caught fire, and the plaintiffs could not extinguish it, because the firefighting system was out of operation. The court found that it was assumed that the launch was fit as well as reasonably safe and operational for the purpose for which it had been commissioned.

Rights and duties arising from bailment and liens – Lexology

Rights and duties arising from bailment and liens.

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Also, the bailee needs to look after the goods to the same extent whether the bailment is for reward or gratuitous. Not doing the abovementioned, would hold the bailor responsible for all the damage suffered by the bailee, arising directly from such faults. The bailor may have an action in tort for conversion against the third party, if without any bailor’s express or implied authority the bailee himself bails the goods to the third party. Sanju delivers a piece of cloth to Manju, a tailor, to be stitched into a suit. The person delivering the goods is called the “bailer” and the person to whom they are delivered is called the “bailee”.

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The rights of a bailor include the right to claim compensation for damages suffered to the goods, the right to terminate the bailment, the right to sue for breach of the bailment contract, and the right to claim compensation for extraordinary expenses incurred by the bailee. The rights and duties of a bailee in India are crucial in determining the legal framework within which the bailment operates. The bailee has certain rights, including the right of possession, the right to compensation for expenses, the right to claim compensation for damages, the right to lien, and the right to recover compensation for the value of improvements made to the goods. On the other hand, the bailee also has certain duties, including the duty of care, the duty to return the goods, the duty to render accounts, the duty not to mix goods, a duty not to make unauthorized use, the duty to compensate for loss, and duty not to deny bailor’s title. The bailment contract means the transfer of possession of the product for a special purpose from the bailor to the bailee.

Vs. The Board of Trustees of the Port of Bombay and Metal Fabs India Pvt. The bailee therefore had the right to be compensated for the costs expended for bailment purposes. Delivery should be upon contract – Delivery of goods should be made for a purpose and under a contract that when the purpose is fulfilled the goods shall be restored to the bailor. If the goods of a person are possessed by another person without any contract, no bailment shall take place within the meaning of the definition.

Section 180 describes the rights on the bailee to sue the wrongdoers. It describes that in case a 3rd person wrongfully deprives the bailee of the possession or usage of the goods in bailment, or causes them any harm, then the bailee is authorized to have such remedies as the owner may have used in the if there was no bailment done. It also provides that a bailee or bailor can also file a suit against a third party if such deprivation or harm is caused by the third party. Lien basically means the right to retain goods or property until some charges are due upon it or services executed for its enhancement, are paid.

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