Soumyadip Panda, Amity University Kolkata
The principle of strict liability as established in the Ryland vs. Fletcher case was considered to be concrete in Indian scenario till 1980s. However, Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Oleum Gas Leak case brought up questions in regard to the exceptions which are granted to the defendant under the principle of strict liability and compelled the Indian Judiciary to introduce a concept for such unfortunate rare occurrences, wherein the defendant should not be entitled to any exceptions so that he can free himself from the responsibility for those actions which results in large-scale irreparable damages. Thus, the principle of absolute liability emerged in India when the Courts realized that it was important to come up with an alternative to address issues such as the Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy and the Oleum Gas Leak case. The Bhopal Gas leak Tragedy was the first case which awakened the concept of rule of absolute liability in India, however, it was later in the Oleum Gas Leak case the principle was in toto applied. The author, through this research work has aimed to trace the origin of Strict Liability, along with its essentials and exceptions as can be deduced from the Ryland vs. Fletcher case. He has tried to analyse the position of the rule of strict liability in India before the introduction of the principle of Absolute Liability. He further ventures to examine the scope of the principle of Absolute Liability by taking into consideration the enactment of the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.
For this research paper, the Author had adopted the doctrinal method to proceed with his research work. Primary resources the author referred to in the course of his research work included books and journals. Other sources like articles and the like were also accessed online through the use of online databases. The author has limited his research work to the resources available on the internet. The research work has mainly focused on the origin and development of the principle of Absolute Liability in the Indian Scenario.
Keywords: Strict Liability, Absolute Liability, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Oleum Gas Leak, Indian Judiciary.