1. Meaning of bailment :

          The term bailment is derived from French word 'bailor' which means to deliver. Bailment is a delivery of goods on condition that the receipent shall ultimately restore them to the Bailor or dispose of them according to the direction of the Bailee or dispose of them according to the direction of the Bailor.

2. Definition of bailment 

       Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines bailment - 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. In bailment  the person delivering the goods is called the ‘bailor’ and the person to whom they are delivered is called the ‘bailee’. There are five kinds of bailment.

Examples - Hiring of goods, car , furniture etc.

3. Essential elements of bailment

                 To constitute a contract of bailment, the following conditions are to be satisfied.

 (1) Delivery of possession of goods :

          Delivery of goods from one person to another person for some purpose is an essential elements of bailment.  According to Section 149 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 the delivery to the bailee may be made by doing anything which has the effect of putting the goods in the possession of the intended bailee or of any person authorised to hold them on his behalf.

 (2) Delivery of possession upon a contract : 

           There can be no bailment without a contract. all conditions for valid contract are to be satisfied, such as Competent parties, free consent lawful object etc.

 (3) Return or dispose of goods according to the direction : 

           In bailment the goods are delivered for specific purpose. after the purpose is accomplished the goods may be returned to the bailor in the same or altered direction, condition or maybe disposed of as directed by bailor. If the person to whom the goods are delivered is not bound to restore them to the person delivering them or to deal with them according to the mandate their relationship will not be that of bailor and bailee.


See also 

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

2)  Classification of Bailment

3) Difference/ Distinction between Bailment and Contract of sale

4) Distinction/ Difference between Bailment and Agency

5) Difference / Distinction between Contract and Agreement


  1. Such an insightful and balanced post. Bailment is change of possession of goods, not transfer of ownership of goods as in sale. Some of the essential elements of bailment are as follows: i) Contract. ii) Delivery of movable goods. iii) Non-transfer of ownership. iv) Purpose..
    For more:
    Essential Elements of Bailment


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