Sunday, May 26, 2024





Explain the terms contributory & composite negligence.

• Introduction
Negligence, on the other hand, is a violation of a legal obligation. A legal duty to take care exists when it is foreseeable that the failure to take care will result in the infliction of any kind of harm or injury. Negligence, in contrast, is a mode in which many damages may be caused by the failure to take effective measures.

There are two types of negligence: contributory negligence, and composite negligence, in which both types of negligence occur. In the case of contributory negligence, it is for the offended party to prove anything. He or she must prove that he or she was required to take care of the injured party, that he or she breached that duty, and that the injured party suffered harm because of the respondent’s carelessness.

The burden of surveying the harm is entirely on the court. It must choose and decide how remote the harm is and the amount for which the injured party is entitled to compensation.

Essential elements to prove negligence are provided below;
a. Duty,
b. Breach of that duty,
c. Cause in fact,
d. proximate Cause
e. Harm

• Contributory Negligence
Negligence is a breach of legal duty. There is a lawful obligation to take care when it is predicted that the inability to do so will probably be going to inflict any kind of damage or injury. Negligence is a mode wherein many damages might be brought about by not taking effective measures. Negligence is of two kinds that are contributory negligence and composite negligence.

In the event of negligence, the obligation to prove anything is on the offended party. He should demonstrate the obligation of care to the offended party, breach of that obligation, and the offended party endured harm as a result of that carelessness brought about by the respondent. The obligation to survey the harm is completely upon the court. The court needs to choose and decide the remoteness of the harm and the sum for which the offended party is qualified for as harm.

What is Contributory Negligence on the plaintiff by his own want of care contributes to the damage caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of the defendant, he is considered to be guilty of contributory negligence. an accident would be said to be the result of contributory negligence if “the proximate cause of the accident is the act or omission amounting to want of ordinary care or in defiance of duty or obligation on the part of the complaining duty (the plaintiff) has conjoined with the other party’s negligence.”

Explaining the concept of contributory negligence, the Supreme Court in Municipal Corpn. of Greater Bombay v. Laxman Iyer observed:
“Where an accident is due to negligence of both parties, substantially there would be contributory negligence and both would be blamed. In a case of contributory negligence, the crucial question on which liability depends would be whether either party could by exercise of reasonable care, have avoided the consequence of other’s negligence. Whichever party could have avoided the consequence of other’s negligence would be liable for the accident.

If a person’s negligent act or omission was the proximate and immediate cause of death, the fact that the person Suffering injury was himself negligent and also contributed to the accident or other circumstances by which the injury was caused would not afford a defence to the other. Contributory negligence· is applicable solely to the conduct of a plaintiff.”

This is a defence in which the defendant has to prove that the plaintiff of his own safety and that was safety and that was a contribute. direction and factor to the harm ultimately suffered by the plaintiff.

If A, going on the wrong failed to take reasonable care of his own of the road, is hit by a vehicle driven on his part. rashly by B, A can be met with the defence of contributory negligent.

In Rural Transport Service v. Bezlum Bibi the conductor of an overcrowded bus invited passengers to travel on the roof of the bus. The driver ignored the fact that there were passengers on the roof and tried to overtake As he swerved the bus on the right for the purpose and went on the kucha road, a passenger sitting on the roof was hit by the branch of a tree, he fell down, received severe injuries, and then died. it was held that both h driver and the conductor were negligent towards the passengers, who were invited to sit on the roof. There was also contributory negligence on the part of the passengers including the deceased, who took the risk of travelling om the roof of the bus.

In Davies v. Swan Motor Co. Ltd. an employee of Swansea Corporation, in contravention of the regulations, was riding on the steps attached to the offside of the dust lorry. There was a collision when an omnibus tried to overtake the dusty lorry. In consequence, an employee standing on the stars of the lorry was hit, seriously injured and ultimately died. It was held that although there was negligence on the part of the driver of the omnibus, was also contributory negligence on the part of the deceased.

Contributory Negligence of Children
What amounts to contributory negligence in the case of a mature per. may not be so in the case of a child because a child cannot be expected to be as careful as a grown-up person. Age of a person, therefore, has to be taken into account to ascertain whether a person is guilty of contributory negligence or not.

In R. Srinivasa v. K.M. Parasivamurthy, a child of about 6 years was hit by a lorry while standing just near the footpath. It was held that a child that age does not have the road sense or experience of his or her elders and therefore, the plaintiff, in this case, cannot be blamed for contributory negligence.

Similar question had also arisen before the court of the Judicial Commissioner, Goa in Metias Ccsta v. Roque Augustinho Jacinto. There, the appellant, a child of about 6 years, while trying to cross a road, for going to school on the other side of the road, was knocked down by a motor cyde resulting in several injuries to him. In an action against the motor cyclist, the plea of contributory negligence on the part of the child was taken by contending that the child suddenly came in front of the vehicle. It was held that the motor cyclist as a reasonable man could anticipate that the school going children would cross the road at that point and, therefore, since he failed to drive cautiously, he was liable. Rejecting the defence of contributory negligence, it was observed: “There cannot be a case of contributory negligence on the part of children because a child cannot be expected to be as careful for his Own safety as an adult and in such a case, a plea of contributory negligence cannot be availed.”

• Composite Negligence
When the negligence of two or more persons results in the same damage, there is said to be “Composite Negligence”, and the persons responsible for causing such damage are known as “Composite Tortfeasors.” In England, such tortfeasors could be classified into two categories: joint tortfeasors and independent tortfeasors, and there were different rules governing the liability of these two categories of tortfeasors.

The liability of these two categories Of persons has been named somewhat similar through legislation, i.e., the Law Reform (Married Women and Tortfeasors) Act, 1935 and Civil Liability (Contribution) Act, 1978. The exact nature of liability of these categories of tortfeasors has been discussed in some detail in an earlier Chapter. The Courts in India have not necessarily followed the English Law, and Ly bave adopted the rules which are in consonance with justice, equity and A conscience, according to Indian conditions.

Unlike in England, the distinction between joint tortfeasors and independent tortfeasors is not of much relevance in India, because the rules in India being different, the question of such a distinction has seldom arisen. For this reason, the term “Composite Negligence”, has been used to cover cases whether they are of negligence by joint tortfeasors, or independent tortfeasors.

Sometimes, the courts have been unmindful of the fact that the terms joint tortfeasors and independent tortfeasors have different connotations, the term “Composite or joint tortfeasors” has been used to connote a situation, which is in fact one of independent tortfeasors, In various cases in india, certain kinds of problems in cases of composite negligence have arisen which have not been already discussed in Chapter III under the head “Joint Tortfeasors.”

The same are being discussed hereunder. Nature of liability in case of Composite Negligence The liability of the composite tortfeasors is joint and several. No one of the tortfeasors is allowed to say that there should be apportionment, and Le liability should be limited to the extent he is at fault. The judgment against the composite tortfeasors is for a single sum without any apportionment in accordance with the fault of various tortfeasors, and the plaintiff of the defendants, if he so chooses. The defendant, who has paid more than his share of the liability may claim the whole of his claim against any contribution from the other defendants.

In 1963, in a Single Bench decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court i.e., The State of Punjab v. Phool Kumari it had been held that there could be apportionment of liability between various tortfeasors, but that decision has been dissented in many subsequent cases. The High Courts of Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Punjab & Haryana, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Guwahati and Karnataka!” have expressed in favour of non-appointment of damages between various composite tortfeasors, with a discretion to the plaintiff to enforce the whole of his claim against any of the tortfeasors. This is in consonance with the joint and several liability of the various tortfeasors.

In Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation v. Krishnan, two passenger buses brushed each other in such a way that the left hands of two passengers travelling in one of these buses were cut off below the shoulder joint. It was held that “the present cases are clearly cases of composite negligence. Hence, both the drivers are jointly and severally liable to pay the Compensation,”

Sr. No. Composite negligenceContributory negligence
1Composite negligence means ‘omission of an act’ from the part of two or more wrongdoer which resulted in the injury of the plaintiffContributory negligence means ignorance on the part of the plaintiff in order to avoid the consequences arising from the negligence of the defendant.
2Wrongdoers or the defendants are jointly liable.Both plaintiff and defendant are held responsible.
3There’s no such relation between the plaintiff and the defendants.There is a proximate relation between the acts of the plaintiff and defendant.
4Wrongdoers are liable to pay for the injury sustained by the plaintiff.Both the plaintiff and the defendant are liable to pay for the damages.
5Claim for damages is not reduced to an extent.Claim for damages by the plaintiff is reduced to the extent of his proportion of negligence.

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