Bailment is a concept of common law. Under Common law, bailment is the process of placing personal property or goods in the temporary custody or control of another. For a valid bailment, it is necessary that bailee must have actual physical control of the property with the intent to possess it. The bailee is generally not entitled to the use of the property during his possession. A bailor can demand for return of the property at any time.
2. Definition of Bailment
According to Contract Act, bailment means delivery of goods by one person to another for some purpose upon a contract that they these goods shall be returned or disposed of according to the directions of the person delivering them when the purpose will be accomplished.
Under Contract Act, bailment is considered a contract. Such contract is consisted of following essentials.
i. Delivery of Goods
For a valid bailment, it is essential that goods should be delivered from one person to another person. It means that possession of goods should be changed.
ii. Delivery for Some Purpose
It is necessary for a valid bailment that goods should be delivered for some purpose.
iii. Return or disposing of Goods
For a valid bailment, it is also essential that goods should be returned or disposed off according to directions of bailor when purpose is accomplished.
3. Definition of Bailor
In bailment, the person, who delivers goods, is call bailor.
4. Duties and Liabilities of Bailor
Following are duties and liabilities of bailor;
i. Disclosing of defects of goods bailed
It is duty of bailor to disclose any defects, which are present in goods, which are being bailed.
ii. Repayment of expenses
It is liability of bailor to repay all those expenses, which bailee spends for purpose of bailment.
iii. Bailor’s Responsibility to Bailee
Bailor is liable to bailee for any loss, which the bailee bears in the following situations;
a. No right to make bailment
Bailor is responsible to bailee for any loss, which bailee bears because bailor was not entitled to make bailment.
b. No Right to get back bailed goods
Bailor is responsible to bailee for any loss, which bailee bears because bailor was not entitled to get back bailed goods.
c. No right to give Directions
Bailor is responsible to bailee for any loss, which bailee bears because bailor was not entitled to give directions.
5. Definition of Bailee
In bailment, the person to whom goods are delivered is called bailee.
6. Duties and Liabilities of Bailee
Following are duties and liabilities of bailee;
In all cases of bailment, bailee is bound to take care of bailed goods in the same manner in which a man of ordinary prudence takes care of his own goods of the same quality and value.
ii. Unauthorized use of Bailed Goods
If bailee makes any use of goods bailed and such use in not according to conditions of bailment, he is liable to make compensation to bailor for any damage, which is caused to the goods during such use.
iii. Mixing of Bailed goods with Bailee’s goods
If bailee mixes bailed goods with his own goods without consent of bailor, his liability arises in the following two cases;
a. When goods can be Separated?
Out of mixed goods, if bailed goods can be separated or divided, bailee will be under obligation to bear all expense of separation or division, and any damage, which is caused from such mixture.
b. When goods cannot be Separated?
Out of mixed goods, if bailed goods cannot be separated or divided, bailee will be under obligation to compensate the bailor for such loss of bailed goods.
iv. Return of Bailed goods
It is duty of bailee to return bailed goods to bailor without any demand an according to directions of bailor on expiration of time or accomplishment of purpose.
v. Non-return of Bailed Goods
If bailee fails to return bailed goods at proper time, it is his liability to compensate bailor for any destruction or loss from this time.
vi. Increase or Profit from bailed goods
In absence of any contrary contract or according to directions of bailor, bailee is also under obligation to deliver to bailor any increase or profit, which may have accrued from bailed goods.
To conclude, it can be stated that bailment is the process of placing personal property or goods in the temporary custody or control of another. However, such temporary custody originates very strong duties and liabilities for both the bailor and bailee.