Principle 1: A person owes a duty of care to everybody who is likely to be affected by his act., but only to the extent to which he can foresee the consequences of his act. The standard to determine whether a person has been guilty of negligence is the standard of care which, in the given circumstances, a reasonable man could have foreseen.

Principle 2: Voluntary assumption of duty will make the defendant liable in case of non-fulfilment.

1. A child was drowning in the local pond. Mr. Cantona, a stranger to the child, was walking past the road beside the pond and noticed the child, but did nothing to save the child. Decide his liability. (Apply P2)

a) Mr. Cantona will not be liable because he did not have any liability towards the child as a stranger.
b) Mr. Cantona will be liable since he had noticed the child, and it was inhuman of him to walk away.
c) Mr. Cantona will be liable since he could have at least notified another person, who might have helped the child.
d) Mr. Cantona is a famous footballer, who had an FA Cup final to win the next day, so he could not be expected to spare time out of his schedule.


2. A child was drowning in the local pond. Mr. Cantona, a stranger to the child, was walking past the road beside the pond and noticed the child. He got down into the water and started moving towards the child, but decided to stop since his clothes were getting dirty. Decide his liability. (Apply P2)

a) Mr. Cantona will not be liable because he did not have any liability towards the child as a stranger.
b) Mr. Cantona will be liable since he had noticed the child, and it was inhuman of him to walk away.
c) Mr. Cantona will be liable since he could have at least notified another person, who might have helped the child.
d) Mr. Cantona will be liable since he had assumed the duty to save the child by moving into the pond, and by not saving the child accordingly, was negligent in fulfilling his duty.


3. The defendant parked his car on a road and left his pet dog inside the car. The dog jumped about inside the car and smashed a glass panel. A splinter from the glass panel injured a passerby. What is the liability of the defendant?

a) The defendant’s will be liable since had kept the dog in the car, and thus allowed for the scope of any damage. However, since it is not his own act, he will have to pay reduced damages.
b) The defendant is wholly liable to the plaintiff.
c) The defendant is not liable since a dog smashing a glass panel of a car is unforeseeable.
d) None of the Above.


4. The Local Council constructed 200 houses for its employees in its premises. Two huge bore wells were sunk and motors were installed. They did not cover the pump rooms properly. A child, 6 years old, from one of the quarters, was playing near the pumphouse.
On hearing the noise of the pump, she was curious to see the motor. She touched the motor that was not covered properly and three of her fingers were sliced off.

a) The parents of the child cannot sue the University on any Grounds
b) In spite of the child’s act, her parents can successfully sue the Local Council for damages.
c) The Local Council can be made liable only to the extent of the cost of treatment as the child also contributed to the incident.
d) Only the child can sue and not her parents.


5. Principle: One has to compensate another for the injury caused due to his wrongful act.
The liability to compensate is reduced to the extent the latter has contributed to the
injury through his own negligence. This is the underlying principle of contributory

Veerappa is owning a farm at a distance of half a furlong from the railway track. He
stored stacks of dried up straw on his land after the harvest as is normal in farming. One day when the train was passing through the track, the driver was negligently operating the locomotive by allowing it to emit large quantities of spark. The high wind, normal in open fields, carried the sparks to the stacks stored by Veerappa and the stacks caught fire thereby causing extensive damage. Veerappa filed a suit against the Railways claiming damages. The Railways while acknowledging liability alleged contributory negligence on the part of Veerappa.

a) Veerappa was not liable since his use of land was lawful.
b) Veerappa’s farm being at a reasonable distance from the railway track, he cannot be held responsible for the high winds.
c) Veerappa should have anticipated the possibility and hence he is liable for contributory negligence.
d) None of the above.


6. Kannan was suffering from a serious disease which required urgent medical attention. He booked a seat in an Indian Airlines flight from his place to Delhi where such treatment is
available. As he sat inside the plane, his fragile health condition was obvious to the flight
attendants and they made special arrangements for him. But due to mechanical defects, which
in turn could be attributed to poor maintenance, the flight was delayed for hours together. As a result, by the time the flight reached Delhi, Kannan developed serious complications and he
could not be saved. His heirs filed a suit against Indian Airlines claiming damages for the death. Under the relevant law, the Airline shall be liable for the damage caused by the delay.

a) Kannan’s critical condition was obvious to the flight attendants and hence the Airline is liable.
b) Kannan’s condition was not known to the Airlines when the ticket was issued and hence the Airline is not liable.
c) The Airline should be held liable for its negligence towards maintenance of the aircraft.
d) There is a direct nexus between Kannan’s death and the poor maintenance.


7. Kumar owns a bakery selling both branded and non-branded bakery products. A customer bought a pack of buns produced by Modern Bread factory. A bun in the pack contained a stone and while eating the bun, the stone hurt the customer’s tooth. He filed a suit against Kumar.

a) Kumar owed a duty of care to all his regular customers, and hence he is liable.
b) Kumar did not owe a duty of care on behalf of Modem Breads and hence he is not liable.
c) It is for the customer to take care of himself in whatever he is doing.
d) Kumar could not have verified the contents embedded in the bread without tampering with the seal, and hence he had exercised adequate care and the harm was not foreseeable.

8. Principle: Whoever is under a duty of care to another shall be liable for any injury to the latter directly resulting from the breach of the duty.

Ganesh Stores, sent certain items in a horse carriage, to a customer’s house, that was by the side of the main road and near a school zone. The driver of the carriage was carrying the goods into the house, leaving the carriage unattended on the road. Some children in the nearby school threw stones at the horse. The horse ran in confusion and when it was about to run over an old woman, a traffic police, at great risk to his life, managed to seize the horse and stop the carriage. In the process, the policeman suffered serious personal injuries.

a) The Principal of the School is liable to compensate the policeman.
b) Ganesh Stores is liable to the policeman.
c) The Carriage driver is liable to compensate the policeman.
d) The policeman cannot claim any relief from any of the parties in this case.


9. Principle: If, as a result of carelessness, one injures another, he is legally liable to the injured victim for resulting damages, unless the victim’s own carelessness also contributes to causing the accident.

Abhi carelessly left an iron pole protruding across a public road. 200 meters from
that spot was a traffic signal indicating the speed limit to be at 30 kmph. Agni, riding a
motorcycle at 90 kmph, noticed the protrusion from a distance, but still could not avoid it,
collided with the pole and was injured. In an action by Agni against Abhi:

a) Agni will succeed because Abhi was careless.
b) Agni will succeed because Abhi could have avoided the mishap by putting up a warning.
c) Agni will lose as he was driving very fast.
d) Agni will lose because he himself did not pay heed to the warning sign, which may have avoided the accident.


10. Murthy was in a hurry to get into the train about to move. There was tremendous rush in the railway station. In the process of gaining entry, he accidentally pushed another passenger, carrying a bag on his head. That other passenger fell down; and sharp instruments, contained in the bag fell out and injured several people. A suit was filed against Murthy seeking compensation for the injury caused to the people.
a) Murthy is not liable, since he did not intend to push the passenger.
b) Murthy is not liable, since he could not have foreseen such a bloody consequence, out of his struggle to gain entry into the train.
c) Murthy is liable, because he ought to have foreseen that there is a possibility of causing some kind of a mishap due to the jostling.
d) None of the Above.


Answer Key
1 – a
2 – d – here, Cantona had made an explicit gesture towards the saving of the child, by getting down into the pond with the intention of saving the child; this act was a voluntary assumption of duty on his behalf, and failure to fulfil it amounted to negligence.
3 – c
4 – b – since it was foreseeable that children would be around in a residential area, and an object such as the pump room, which was left visible, might attract the attention of children. There is greater foresight demanded on part of the local council.
5 – b – the farm was at a considerable distance + it was normal practice to store dried up straw on the land after harvest
6 – b – a mechanical defect and delay in flight is foreseeable due to poor maintenance – and they are liable for any damage caused by the damage. That said, the Airline was not privy to Kannan’s serious condition. Despite the fact that they voluntarily assumed a duty of care towards Kannan, the fact that he would go on to die because of a delay was not foreseeable. The delay, which is the cause, is too remote from his death, the effect.
7 – d – b would have been the answer, but lacks specificity as compared to d.
8 – c – straightforward application of the principle
9 – d – here, the principle of contributory negligence applies differently, due to the words “he will be liable…unless”. Notice that there are no other conditions which say that the defendant will be partially liable. Hence, Abhi has no liability.
10- b – straightforward application of the principle

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