The case analysis is written by Mohit Bhardwaj a second-year student of Unitedworld School of Law. In this case comment, the author has briefly explained the case of South Indian Industrial Ltd. Madras v. Alamelu Ammal.
In South Indian Industries Ltd. Vs. Alamelu Ammal, AIR 1923 Mad. 565, case the defendants were carrying on the business of breaking up of cast iron by dropping of a heavyweight on the iron as a result of which the broken pieces of cast iron used to fall at a distance of 4 to 5 yards. One of those pieces struck the plaintiff standing at the distance of more than 70 yards.
58 of 1921
C.J. SIR. KC. WALTER SALIS SCHWABE & MR. JUSTICE WALLACE
24 January 1923
(1923) 45 MLJ 53, LQ 1923 HC 0009
Law of Torts & THE FATAL ACCIDENT ACT, 1855
Brief Facts and Procedural History
The facts are that the defendants for the purposes of their own business used a method of breaking up castiron which consisted of dropping a heavyweight on pieces of iron resting on a bed of iron with the intention that these pieces should be broken into smaller pieces. The weight was dropped from a height of 35 feet with the inevitable result that pieces of iron flew about. It is common ground that they habitually flew to distances of four or five yards from the pit.
Issues Before the Court
- Weather ordinary care and caution were being exercised or not?
- For how much amount the defendant was liable?
Ratio of the Case
The contention was based on the maxim volenti non fit injuria, when the defendant company itself pleads that. it did not anticipate and could not have anticipated pieces flying over a distance of 90 feet, the bench does not see how they can plead that their deceased workman could possibly have anticipated it for himself, and thus the essential ingredient of that defence is lacking. As ‘to the contention that deceased must have known that ordinary care and caution were being exercised, and yet continued working, that defence also fails, as, in my view, such ordinary care was not exercised.
If a person chooses to carry on dangerous operations of that kind, it is their duty not only to the public but to their servants to take adequate precautions that those pieces shall not cause injury. They ought to exercise ordinary care, caution and skill to prevent that. The mere fact an accident has happened is strong evidence in a case of that kind that they had not taken the ordinary care, caution, and skill required for preventing the happening of the event.
Decision of the Court
The cross-appeal was therefore allowed with costs on Rs. 500, the amount awarded and the defendant was held liable, as he could not prove that at such a valid distance the plaintiff had knowledge of the risk, he fully appreciated the risk and he freely and voluntarily accepted the risk defence fails, as, in the view of the bench, such ordinary care was not exercised.
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