Duties (or Liabilities) of bailee
1. Take reasonable care of goods bailed-Section 151 & 152: The bailee is bound to take as much care of the goods bailed to him as a man of ordinary prudence would, under similar circumstances, take of his own goods of the same bulk, quality and value as the goods bailed, Section 151. He is not responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods bailed, if he has taken aforesaid amount of care, Section 152.
(a): A gave certain of his cattle to B for grazing against payment. The catties were stolen without any negligence on the part of B. B did not inform the owner, or the police or make any efforts to recover them. B was liable for the loss.
(b): A was admitted to a hospital where her jewellery was handed over to the hospital officials for safe custody. The jewellery was stolen. Hospital officials were bailees for reward and were liable for the loss as they had failed to exercise a care which the nature and quality of the articles required.
2. Not to make any unauthorised use of goods-Section 154: If the bailee uses the goods bailed in a way which is inconsistent with the conditions of bailment, he shall be liable for any loss arising from such use.
Example: A lend a horse to B for his own riding only. B allow C, a member of his family, to ride the horse. C rides with care, but the horse accidentally fells and is injured. B is liable to make compensation to A for the injury done to the horse.
3. Not to mix goods bailed with his own goods-Sections 144-157: The bailee must keep the goods of the bailor separate from his own goods. If he mixes the rule is:
(a) Mixture with bailor’s consent-Section 155, When the bailee mixes the goods bailed with his own goods with the consent of the bailor both bailor and bailee have common interest in the mixture in proportion to their respective share.
(b) Mixture without bailor’s consent-Section 156-157: The law in this respect is as under:
(i) When mixture separable-Section 156, where the mixture is made without the consent of the bailor and the goods so mixed are separable (or divisible), the bailee shall bear the expenses of separation and also damage arising from the mixture.
Example: A bails 100 bales of cotton marked with a particular mark to B. B, without A’s consent mixes these bales with bales of his own, bearing a different mark. B is bound to bear all expenses of separation of bales, and other incidental damages.
(ii) When mixture not separable-Section 157, if the bailee, without bailor’s consent, mixes the goods of bailor with his own goods and such goods cannot be separated, the bailor is entitled to be compensated by the bailee for the loss of goods.
Example: A bales a bag of imported sugar worth Rs.1,000 to B. B, without A’s consent mixes the sugar with local sugar of his own worth only Rs.300. B must compensate A for the loss of his sugar.
4. Not to set up adverse title-Section 117 of Evidence Act: The bailee must hold goods on behalf of bailor. He cannot deny the bailor’s titles or set up against bailor his own title, or the right of a third party.
5. Return accuration to goods-Section 163: The bailee is bound to deliver to the bailor, or according to his directions, any increase or profit which may have accrued from the goods bailed.
Example: A leaves a cow in the custody of B to be taken care of. The cow has a calf. B is bound to deliver the calf as well as the cow to A.
6. Return the goods-Section 160 & 161: It is the duty of the bailee to return the goods bailed, without demand, on the expiry of time fixed or on accomplishment of purpose, Section 160. In case of any default he becomes liable for any loss, destruction or deterioration of goods notwithstanding he exercised reasonable care. Section 161.
Example: A delivered some books to B for binding. A for Jheir return but B neglected to return even after redf-onable time. The books were destroyed by fire. B was liable for the loss, because he was negligent.