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Vicarious liability of the state

Position in England

The crown could not be sued in tort. Either for wrong actually authorized by it or committed by its servant. No action could lie against the head of the department or the superior officials for the acts of their subordinates. The position has been entirely changed after the passing of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. Now the crown is liable for a tort committed by its servant.

Position in India

Art 300 of Constitution of India define that the Union and the State legislature is the Jurist Person for the purpose of suit or proceedings. Although the UOI and State Government can sue and be sued but the circumstances under which that can be done have not been mentioned. A/c Art 300- the UOI and the State government can sue and can be sued before the commencement of the constitution.
To know the present position as regards the liability of the state for tortuous acts, we have to go to the pre constitution days.
Sec 176 of Government of India Act 1935 says – the present constitution does not give the circumstances of the government liability.

In Stem Navigation Company v. s Secretary of State for India- the plaintiff filed a suit against the Secretary of State for India for the damage caused by the servant of East India Company. The court held that- if the act was done in the exercise of sovereign functions, the East India Company would not have been labile, but if the function not sovereign then the company is labile. In Rup Ram v.s State of Punjab- could held that rejected the plea of the government that – the truck was carrying materials for the construction of a bridge and was under the discharge of sovereign function as government along could not be liable of tort.
Court held that- State was held to be exactly similar in exactly similar in extent and naute to that of an ordinary employer.
In Vidyawati v.s lokumal- Rajashtan high court held the same view.
Kasturi Lal v.s State of UP- State is not liable.
Negligence of Military Servant- State liable.

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