Generally, a person is liable for his own wrongful acts and one does not incur any liability for the acts done by others. In certain cases, however, vicarious liability, that is the liability of one person for the act of another person, may arise. In order that there should be certain kind of relationship between A and B, and the wrongful act should be, in certain way, connected with that relationship.
The common example of such a liability are:
- Liability of the principal for the tort of his agent
- Liability of partners of each other’s tort
- Liability of the master for the tort of his servant.
Vicarious liability of master:
A master can be held vicariously liable for the torts committed by his servant, provided the following conditions are met:
- Test of relationship – The person committing the tort must be his servant.
- Course of employment – The servant must have committed that tort in the course of his employment i.e., while he is discharging his duties towards his master.
Who is a ‘Servant’?
- He is hired by another and works for wages
- The master has control over what work is to be done
- The master has control over how the work is to be done
- The master has the discretion to fire him
My driver is my servant as I exercise control and supervision over what work will be done by him and how it will be done.
Course of Employment
And act is done in ‘course of employment’ if
- It is done for the purposes of the master
- It is done in discharge of duties for which the servant is employed
- The tort complained of must be connected with the regular duties of the servant