View Paper

Non-Contractual Bailment: A glance At Statutory Bailment

2nd year, B.A.LL.B (Hons.), VIT School of Law, VIT University Chennai Campus.

The contract of bailment is primarily, “the delivery of goods to another, other than a servant, for some purpose upon a condition, express or implied, that after the purpose has been fulfilled, they shall be redelivered to the bailor, or otherwise dealt with according to his directions, or kept till he reclaims them”. Thus, the bailment involves the change of possession and redelivering the same to the real owner. Bailment is said to be a relationship sui generis. Then it is understandable that bailment can exist independently of any contract. The law per se recognizes the same under section 71 of the Indian contract Act, 1872, as a person who finds goods belongs to another and takes them into custody is subject to the same responsibility as a bailee. But in this case of Ram Gulam v. Govt. of U.P, it has been held that the Government is not liable for the stolen property of the plaintiff, which had been under the police custody after they recovered the same when it got stolen earlier. Thus, the point of decision in the above case was no bailment would arise without a contract. But, in the case of L.M. Co-operative Bank v. Prabhudas Hathibhai, the Court held that the bailment could exist even without the contract. Thus, the applicability of bailment without a contract is qua controverting. Whether or not there can be a bailment without any contract is one of the prime queries regarding the concept of non-contractual bailment. Since it is not a Res Integra question, the purpose of the paper is to address the subject via doing a comparative study of the related cases with the relevant justification of their respective judgments and analyzing the same with the help of secondary data.

Download Full Paper