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Report No. 01

23. The Crown as master and its liability to servants.-

The liability of the Crown as master to its servants is, again, restricted to the common law liability. A master's duty to take reasonable care and to provide adequate plant and appliance is discussed in Wilson Clyde Coal Co. v. English, 1935 AC 57. These duties are:

(1) to employ competent servants;

(2) to provide and maintain adequate plant and appliances for the work to be carried out;

(3) to provide and maintain a safe place of work;

(4) to provide and enforce a safe system of work.

Section 2(1)-The provision, in section 2(1)(b) does not attract the duties imposed by statute on a private employer as it is restricted to common law liability. The State in the present day is, perhaps, the biggest employer of workmen in various industries. The State also provides public utility services, runs transport and in respect of such operations, the Factories Acts, and the Employers' Liability Acts, impose various duties on persons carrying on such operations. These are not included within the liability imposed on the State under clause (b) of section 2(1). They are provided for separately. To what extent the Crown is liable for the statutory duties thus imposed by law will be considered presently.

24. Clause (c) provides for the breach of common law duties in respect of property. Liability may arise in different ways:

Liability to invitees or licensees injured in dangerous premises and liability for nuisance for the escape of noxious things, are some of the instances. Section 40(4) provides that no liability shall rest upon the Crown until the Crown or some person acting for the Crown has in fact taken possession or control of any such property, or entered into occupation of such property. This is because the liability attaches by reason of the fact that the property is in the occupation or possession of the Crown. Section 2(b) and (c) impose liability on the Crown only in respect of its breach of duty but no liability in respect of tort of a servant.



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