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Aakritu   21 January 2022

Legal maxim

What is the scope of the maxim "Respondeat Superior"?

 1 Replies

Aarushi   21 January 2022

The maxim of Respondeat Superior literally means “let the master answer”. The maxim of Respondeat Superior is based on the concept of vicarious liability. This maxim was brought upon to keeping in mind the economic limitation of a subordinate and to keep a check on the reckless behaviour of the employers. The principle of Respondeat Superior is imposed on both civil and criminal cases. According to this maxim, any negligent behaviour on the part of the employee will be the responsibility of the employer. To call upon the provisions of this maxim, it has to be made sure that a relationship between the employer and the employee should exist and the negligent act on the part of the employee is done within the scope of his employment.

Automobiles Transport v. Dewalal & Ors.

In this case, the Rajasthan High Court held that while the driver is driving a car with the instructions of the automobile owner, it was his duty to make sure that no negligent act was carried out on the driver’s part. The presumption that the driver was driving under the instructions of his master his always there, it was the duty of the appellant to prove whether or not this assumption is wrong, which is failed to prove.

Smt. Savita Garg v. The Director, National Heart Institute

The Supreme Court held that it was the duty of the hospital as an employer to be held responsible for the actions of the doctors working at that hospital. If there was negligence on the part of the doctor, it was the hospital who had to disclose all the information before the court, if it fails to do so, it would be rendered culpable.

Biranchi Narayan Sahu v. State of Orissa

The petitioner filed a complaint for the murder of his daughter, who was murdered within the school premises during the school hours. A teacher of the Government school in which the petitioner’s daughter studied was convicted of rape and murder of the girl child. In this case, the Orissa High Court held that, since, the teacher was an employee of the Government, keeping in mind the principles of Respondeat Superior, the government was also liable for the death of the girl.

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