Can the bailee be sued for not delivering goods to the real owner as he assumes another person to be the real owner in good faith?
A bailee is an individual who gets temporary possession of the goods for the purpose of repair. A bailor is a person who gives temporary possession of the goods for the purpose of repair. It is to be noted that the bailee receives only the possession of the goods and not the complete ownership. And the act of giving away the temporary possession of the goods is called bailment. The given question is related to Section 166 of the Indian Contract Act. According to Section 166 of the Indian Contract Act 1872, “Bailee not responsible on re-delivery to bailor without a title.”
According to the interpretation from the above statement, it can be said that if the bailee delivers the goods to the fraud bailor in good faith then he cannot be blamed for such delivery by the real bailor but can be blamed if he knows that the false bailor is misrepresenting and still delivers the goods. It can also be said that if the goods are delivered upon the instructions of the bailor then the bailee cannot be blamed.
For example, A gave her necklace to QPR Jewelers for some repair work for three days. In this case, A is the bailor and QPR Jewelers is the bailee and the bailment between them is repairing the necklace and returning it after three days. After three days, B came to collect the necklace on behalf of A by misrepresenting herself and the bailee was not aware of the same and in good faith delivered it to B. Hence, QPR Jewelers cannot be sued by A for mistakenly delivering the goods.
Another example can be, A gave his car for service to DEF garage for three days. In this case, A is the bailor and DEF garage is the bailee and the bailment between them is servicing the car and returning it back after three days. After three days, C came to collect the car of A misrepresenting himself and the DEF garage was aware of the misrepresentation but still delivered it to C. In this case, A being the bailor and the act of bailee not being in good faith can sue the bailee DEF garage.