What is Bailment?

        According to Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872  A ‘bailment’ is the delivery of goods by one person to another for some purpose, upon a contract that they shall, when the purpose is accomplished, be returned or otherwise disposed of according to the directions of the person delivering them.
  • Bailor:  The person delivering the goods is called the ‘bailor’.
  • Bailee:  The person to whom they are delivered is called the ‘bailee’.

        If a person is already in possession of the goods of other contracts to hold them as a bailee, he thereby becomes the bailee, and the owner becomes the bailor of such goods, although they may not have been delivered by way of bailment. There are five kinds of bailment.

Duties of Bailee:

The duties of the Bailee are are follows

 1) To take care of the Goods


               According to Section 151 of the Indian Contract Act 1872, in all cases of bailment the bailee is bound to take as much care of the goods bailed to him as a man of ordinary prudence would, under similar circumstances, take of his own goods of the same bulk, quantity and value as the goods bailed.

 2) Not to make unauthorised use of goods bailed:

        Section 154 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 deals with Liability of bailee making unauthorised use of goods bailed:

 Section 154 runs as follows:

       If the bailee makes any use of the goods bailed which is not according to the conditions of the bailment, he is liable to make compensation to the bailor for any damage arising to the goods from or during such use of them.

Examples :

    (a) A lends a horse to B for his own riding only. B allows C, a member of his family, to ride the horse. C rides with care, but the horse accidentally falls and is injured. B is liable to make compensation to A for the injury done to the horse.

    (b) A hires a horse in Calcutta from B expressly to march to Banaras. A rides with due care but marches to Cuttack instead. The horse accidentally falls and is injured. A is liable to make compensation to B for the injury to the horse.


 3) Not to mix up bailed goods with his own : 

          The bailee should maintain separate identity of goods bailed and should not mix the goods with his own goods without the consent of the bailor.

   Effect of mixture with bailor's consent, of his goods with bailee's:

          If the bailee with the consent of the bailor mixes the goods of the bailor with his own goods the bailor and the bailee shall have an interest in proportion to their respective shares in the mixture thus produced.

       
 4) To act according to the terms and conditions of the contract:

            A contract of bailment is voidable at the option of the bailor if the bailee does any act with regard to the foods bailed, inconsistent with the conditions of the bailment.

      Illustration :

            A lets to B, for hire, a horse for his own riding. B drives the horse in his carriage. This is, at the option of A, a termination of the bailment.


 5) To return the goods bailed:

          According to Section 160 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872  It is the duty of the bailee to return or deliver according to the bailor’s directions the goods bailed, without demand as soon as the time for which they were bailed has expired or the purpose for which they were bailed has been accomplished.



See also 

1) Duties and Liabilities of Bailor (Indian Contract Act 1872)

2) Distinction/ Difference between Bailment and Pledge

3) Difference/ Distinction between Bailment and Contract of sale

4) Distinction/ Difference between Bailment and Agency

5) Difference / Distinction between Contract and Agreement

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