Officials in the industry are responsible for compensating the injured parties
if an industry or enterprise engages in an activity that is inherently dangerous
but generates financial benefit. If the activity is capable of causing
Essential Elements Of Absolute Liability:
Charing Cross Electric Supply Co. v. Hydraulic Power Co.
- Dangerous Item:
The owner will only be held responsible if a dangerous item has escaped from
their property. Additionally, the object has the potential to harm anyone
and any property on its escape. The following items have been deemed
dangerous in a number of strict liability cases: a sizable pool of water,
electricity, gas, explosives, fumes, rusty wires, etc.
The defendant is completely liable for any dangerous item that escaped from
their control and caused damage to the plaintiff's property or personal
injury to anyone. Read v. Lyons and Co. The plaintiff in this case worked
for the defendant's manufacturing business. as she performed her duty She
was seriously hurt when an explosion from a manufactured object occurred.
The plaintiff was performing her duty when the accident happened, according
to the court, and it happened while she was on the job. According to the
ruling, the defendant cannot avoid his responsibility and the strict
liability principle is not relevant in this situation. The accused was made
- Non-natural use of land Water collection for domestic use alone is not
considered a non-natural use of land, but water collection in large
quantities, such as that found in a reservoir, is considered a non-natural
use of land. It was determined in the case of Ryland v. Fletcher that the
large-scale collection of water constitutes an unnatural use of land.
The fundamental distinction between a natural and non-natural use of land is
made by considering the environment, society, and what a reasonable person
would do. When someone plants trees on their property, that is considered a
natural use of the land; however, when they plant poisonous trees, that is
considered a non-natural use of the land.
In order to hold someone accountable under this principle, the plaintiff
must first demonstrate that the defendant made an unnatural use of the land
and avoided a potentially dangerous situation on it, which furthered the
is the case
at hand. Water delivery duties were given to the defendant at various locations.
The pipeline bursts at various locations because the defendant failed to
maintain the minimum pressure that was required of him. The plaintiff sustained
severe damages as a result. Despite not being at fault in this instance, the
defendant was still held liable.
Absolute Liability = (Strict Liability- Exceptions)
When compared to the previous rule, the absolute liability rule has a much wider
scope in all respects. due to the fact that the new rule does not include any
exceptions for it. It does not only cover personal injuries brought on by
neighbor misconduct, but also public negligence or fault. Now, it makes people
liable who are not the land's owner in addition to those who occupy the
In the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India
, which is one of the landmark
decisions in India's legal history, absolute liability has been raised.
Following this case, a rule was established that any business that is involved
in any type of hazardous or inherently dangerous material that, if it causes any
harm, the company will be held fully responsible for compensating all those
affected, as it did in the case of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
M.C Mehta V. Union Of India (Bhopal Gas Tragedy)
Contention & Issue:
- M.C. Mehta filed a writ petition under Articles 21 and 32 of the
Constitution. As Shriram Food and Fertilizer manufactured dangerous
substances and was situated in Kirti Nagar's densely populated area, he
sought closure for the company. Oleum gas leaked from one of the petition's
units while it was still being processed, killing one of the petition's
advocates and negatively impacting the health of several others.
- A significant number of people, including both employees and members of
the general public, were impacted by the Bhopal gas disaster just one year
later. Additionally, this incident makes us think of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
- As soon as the Inspector of Factories and the Commissioner (Factories)
issued separate orders, factories were shut down. During this incident, It
took place just a few months before the Environment (Protection) Act went
into effect, serving as a model for an effective law like this.
- Whether such hazardous industries to be allowed to operate in such
- If they are allowed to work in such areas, whether any regulating
mechanism be evolved?
- How to determine liability and amount of compensation?
- In this case of an oil gas leak, a five-judge SC panel led by Justice PN
Bhagwati established the principle of ABSOLUTE LIABILITY.
- Even though the establishment of the hazardous industries is necessary
for the advancement of society and the economy, they cannot escape their
obligations by demonstrating either that they were not careless in handling
the hazardous substance or that they took all reasonable precautions while
As a result, the court applied the absolute, no-exceptions no-fault
liability principle in this instance. Before it established this rule, or
before 1987, these risky industries would use strict liability exceptions to
avoid their obligations.
- The court also cited the Rylands v. Fletchers case in its ruling,
highlighting that the strict liability rule has some exceptions. Rylands v.
Fletchers was decided in 1866, a year in which significant advances in
science and technology prevented the establishment of such dangerous
industries in such close proximity to densely populated areas.
The law needs to change as society develops. So, without requiring the
industry to be present in the case, the court declared the industry "absolutely
liable" and ordered compensation to be paid as soon as the injury was
Importance Of M.C Mehta V. Union Of India
One of the pivotal cases in environmental advocacy is MC Mehta v. Union of
. Strict Liability, as outlined in Ryland v. Fletcher
, was in
effect up until the MC Mehta v. Union of India
case. According to this
theory, any inherently dangerous acts committed on the property of the industry
owner or operator would subject them to liability. The defense of "Act of God"
is one of many defenses and limited exceptions to the strict liability
Technology development and industrialization have greatly increased the number
of hazardous substances and gases, endangering the environment. As a result,
Absolute Liability was used in the Oleum Gas Leakage case
in place of the
Strict Liability principle.
An important section is the MC Mehta v. Union of India case. the Supreme Court
held a company entirely accountable for the gas leakage for the first time in
Indian judicial history, regardless of its defense or claimed loss.
Additionally, the case provided guidance for all industries by outlining
stringent security standards.
The decision is still regarded as a significant decision in the area of
environmental law in our nation. The judgement addressed a number of novel
circumstances and approaches to the legal system and the fundamental rights. The
court continues to apply the stances established in this case. As a result, this
case represented a major court decision in Indian legal history.
The case brought the seriousness of environmental issues before the entire
nation and wasn't just about people's rights, compensation, and economic losses.
This and the Bhopal gas tragedy both had very dangerous effects on the
environment. The threat to the environment is very immediate in the current
world of industrial development and technological advancement.
As important as this development is for the advancement of society, there is an
urgent need to draw attention to the environmental issues that it poses. We are
getting closer to the end of the environment with each day that goes by.
Everyone who lives on this planet has access to the environment, and it is
everyone's human right to enjoy a safe and healthy environment. It is also
everyone's duty to work for it and make contributions to its improvement.