Question: Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants. [BJS 1991] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants.] Answer Sovereign immunity in regards to the acts of the state is enshrined as a provision… Read More »

Question: Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants. [BJS 1991] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants.] Answer Sovereign immunity in regards to the acts of the state is enshrined as a provision under Article 300 of the Indian Constitution. The first part of the article relates to the way in which suits and proceedings by or against...

Question: Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants. [BJS 1991]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short essay on Governmental liability for the torts committed by its servants.]

Answer

Sovereign immunity in regards to the acts of the state is enshrined as a provision under Article 300 of the Indian Constitution. The first part of the article relates to the way in which suits and proceedings by or against the Government may be instituted. It enacts that a State may sue and be sued by the name of the Union of India and a State may sue and be sued by the name of the State.

The Second part provides, inter alia, that the Union of India or a State may sue or be sued in relation to its affairs in cases on the same line as that of Dominion of India or a corresponding Indian State as the case may be, might have sued or been sued of the Constitution had not been enacted.

The Third part provides that the Parliament or the legislatures of State are competent to make appropriate provisions in regard to the topic covered by Article 300(1).

The interpretation of the act has evolved to suggest that act of the government servants will be considered as an “act of State” where the official is exercising his official functions. In deciding whether the sovereign immunity to be applied or not, the courts consider whether the government official was acting in his public capacity or not. If the official is acting for his own benefit instead of acting for the State’s benefit, then the doctrine of the Act of State will not apply to such acts.

The liability of the government for the torts committed by its servants is governed by the principles of public law and the provisions of the Indian Constitution. The idea of Vicariously Liability of the State for the torts committed by its servants is based on three principles:

  • Respondeat superior (let the principal be liable).
  • Quifacit per alium facit per se (he who acts through another does it himself).
  • Socialization of Compensation.

This principle can be illustrated by the case of Satyawati Devi v. Union of India [AIR 1967 Delhi 98]. In this case, an Air Force vehicle was carrying hockey team of Indian Air Force Station to play a match. After the match was over, the driver was going to park the vehicle when he caused the fatal accident by his negligence. It was argued that it was one of the functions of the Union of India to keep the army in proper shape and tune and that hockey team was carried by the vehicle for the physical exercise of the Air Force personnel and therefore the Government was not liable.

The Court rejected this argument and held that the carrying of the hockey team to play a match could by no process of extension be termed an exercise of sovereign power and the Union of India was therefore liable for damages caused to the plaintiff.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-06-16T05:16:35+05:30
Admin LB

Admin LB

Next Story