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Strict Liability (In India Absolute Liability)

Simply stated the rule of strict liability makes the defendant liable for accidental harms caused without any intentions and negligence on part. In other words, sometimes the law recognizes ‘no fault’ liability. The undertakes of hazardous or dangerous activities have to compensation for the damage caused irrespective of any carelessness on the their part. The rational behind strict liability is that the activities coming within its fold are those entailing extraordinary risk to others, either in the seriousness or the frequency of the harm threatened.

The rule laid down in Ryland v Fletcher is called the rule of strict liability (it is not called the rule of ‘absolute liability’ because of the various exceptions to it). The rule laid down in M.C. Mehta’s case called the rule of absolute liability i.e. stricter than strict liability (as does not recognize any exception). Here, the wrong arises from breach of an absolute duty. An absolute duty may be defined as a duty which renders a man liable without any fault of his, irrespective of any consideration of intention or negligence on his part, and, no amount of care and caution expended by him to prevent the damage will excuse him.

Rule in Ryland V Fletcher:- Also know as the “wild beast theory”, is the mot important of those cases where a man acts his peril and is the insurer of the safety of his neighbors against accidental harm. Here, the duty is not merely the general negative duty to refrain from active injury, but a positive duty to guard and protect one’s neighbors, lest they suffer harm by reason of dangerous things artificially brought on one’s land.

The strict liability under the Ryland'srule is based on the following two conditions:

(a). Firstly, there should be an escape from the land of something likely to do mischief if it escapes. The escapes, for the purpose of applying the proposition in Ryland, means escape from a place of which the defendant has occupation of or control over land to a place which is outside his occupation or control.

(b). Secondly, there should be some non-natural use of land. This means that land should be brought under some special use, bringing with it increased danger to other, and must not merely be the ordinary use of the land, or such a use as is proper for the general benefit of the community.

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