M SIDDALINGAPPA Vs. T NATARAJ
HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA
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(1.)The petitioner who is a Dry Cleaner was sued by the respondent for damages in respect of damage caused to two silk sarees entrusted for dry cleaning. The suit has been decreed by the Court of Small Causes, Bangalore.
(2.)The only point of law raised is that the lower Court was wrong in not giving effect to the following clause of the contract printed on the back of the receipt given by the petitioner on the ground that it is opposed to public policy;
"All articles for cleaning and dyeing are accepted on conditions that the company shall incur no liability in respect of any damage which may occur and for delay or in the event of loss for which the company may accept the liability which shall in no case exceed eight times the cleaning charges."
The question whether any public policy is involved or not does not in my opinion, arise. The petitioner is, undoubtedly, a bailee in respect of the sarees given to him and there is a minimum duty of care Imposed upon all bailees under Section 151 of the Contract Act which they cannot contract themselves out of it is not subject to any contract to the contrary between the parties. Under that section, in all cases of bailment, the bailee is bound to take as much care of the goods bailed to him as a man of ordinary prudence would in similar circumstances take of his own goods of the same bulk, quality and value as the goods bailed. Once that minimum duty is imposed upon the bailee by the law, a breach of that duty undoubtedly clothes the party affected with the right to recover damages commensurate with the consequences.
(3.)The revision petition, therefore, has to be and is hereby dismissed. Petition dismissed.
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