Rights of the Finder of Goods

Forums The Indian Contract Act, 1872 Rights of the Finder of Goods

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  • #3547
    leaglesamiksha
    Keymaster

    Under the Indian Contract Act, 1872, the finder of goods has rights and responsibilities similar to that of a bailee. Section 168 states that, “…. where the owner has offered a specific reward for the return of goods lost, the finder may sue for such reward, and may retain the goods until he receives it.” Suppose, a child ran away from his home. His father sent his servants in search of the child. After that, he announced the reward of Rs 5,000 for whoever traces his child. The servant finds his child, not knowing about the reward. Later he claims the reward under Section 168. Can the servant refuse to send the child back in the custody of his father until he receives the award, according to this Section?

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    • #3548
      Intern
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      According to the given scenario, the general aspect that strikes is that a child is considered to be a living being and shouldn’t be treated as Goods, the similar is mentioned in Section 2(7) of the Sales of Goods Act, 1930, where the goods certainly mean objects and non-living items, thus excluding the fact that a human being could be considered in the purview of Section 168 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

      So under Section 168 of Indian Contract Act, highlighting the term ‘Finder of Goods” which particularly includes goods and not a person can also be an interpretation of what the law creators have implied on by clearly mentioning goods and not concerning the section in relation to human beings.

      Backing it with law, although Section 168 gives the permit to the finder of goods to retain the goods in case of not receiving the due compensation for the expenses incurred, but in the given circumstances the servant is entitled to receive a reward for finding the child and not compensation as of which he has no right to retain the child as well as legally considering the servant has the right to sue under the Right of Lien in order to receive the specific reward that he/she is being entitled to by the owner of the goods.

      Other than that the reward offer of Contract Law clearly states that past consideration is no consideration, which means after finding the lost boy by the servant and coming across the reward put up, there is no point in claiming for it because the offer that is implied has already ended with the boy being found. The ignorance of the offer by the servant in no way could lead to the entitlement of the reward and thus the child had to be returned to the father with due diligence.

      As well as after finding the child, humanely taking things into consideration if the child is retained under this Section that would be against his/her will and that could be termed as abduction for forcefully keeping the child.
      So in my opinion, the answer is no, kept into mind given the above reasons.

    • #3549
      Intern
      Participant

      As it is said that a coin has two parts same can to said for this case it can be dealt in two ways but specifically talking about the case in regards of the section 168, then:
      Yes , according to section 168 the servant is obliged to refuse the custody of the child as it is said under the section that if a owner has made any specific reward for the return of the good than the finder has all to rights to retain the goods until and unless he is paid the reward.
      But taken another aspect of the case we can also judge the case in this below mentioned way -that is
      No, he cannot refuse to send the child back though the section 168 says that the finder has all the rights to retain the good until and unless he receives his reward. But in this case the finder is the servant who already owes a duty to his master, and also the reward was declared after the servant left in the search of the child so the communication for the reward was not made directly to the servant and also there was no acceptance of the offer as per the Indian Contract Act.
      And if the servant claims the reward under section 168 then he is bounded by the law to return the custody of the child or else he can be sued for refusing to send the child back

    • #3550
      Intern
      Participant

      What are the rights and responsibilities of a finder of goods? Suppose a child ran away from his home. His father sent his servants in search of the child. After that, he announced the reward of Rs 5000, whoever traces his child. The servant finds his child not knowing about the reward. Later he claims the reward under section 168. Is he eligible for it? Give reasons for it.
      This question initiates its thread from Section 71 of ICA, 1872. This section deals with the responsibility of the finder of goods. It states that a person who finds the goods which belong to some other person, and keeps that in his possession, then he is subject to the same responsibility as that of a bailee.
      This thread further extends to Sections 168 and 169 of ICA, 1872.
      Section 168 deals with the right of a finder of goods. Basically, this section talks about two things. One is trouble and expenses voluntarily incurred by bailee and second where the owner/bailor had offered a specific reward for the return of lost goods. In the former case, the bailee cannot sue the bailor but he can retain the goods until he receives such compensation. But in later case, the bailee may sue and may retain goods until he receives such reward.
      Section 169 deals with the goods commonly the subject of sale is lost. In this case, if the owner/bailor cannot be found or if he refuses to pay the lawful charges, then the finder/bailee may sell those goods, if the goods are in the danger perishing or losing its value or if the lawful charges (in respect of the goods found) amounts to 2/3 of the value of goods.
      My answer is NO to the second part of the above question. For that, we have to see Section 2(7) of the Sales and Goods Act, 1930. This section defines “Goods”. It includes stock and shares, growing crops, grass, and things attached to the land and things like that. It nowhere considers human beings and goods. So, the above fact is outside the purview of Section 168 of ICA, 1872.

    • #4139
      manishka_seal
      Participant

      Section 168 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states that “The finder of goods has no right to sue the owner for compensation for trouble and expense voluntarily incurred by him to preserve the goods and to find out the owner; but he may retain the goods against the owner until he receives compensation; and where the owner has offered a specific reward for the return of goods lost, the finder may sue for such reward, and may retain the goods until he receives it.” Thus, a finder of goods is a bailee and bound by the duty of reasonable care. He does not have the right to sue the owner for compensation for trouble and expense; it has been incurred by him on his will. However, it allows the finder to retain the goods against the owner until he receives compensation for trouble and expense. Furthermore, where the owner has offered to reward for the return of the lost goods, the finder may sue the owner for the said reward, and may retain the goods until the receipt of such reward.
      Here, let’s take note of the fact that the analysis of Section 168 relates to goods. The definition of goods, as enumerated in section 2(7) of Sale of Goods Act, 1950, is “every kind of moveable property other than actionable claims and money; and includes stock and shares, growing crops, grass, and things attached to or forming part of the land which are agreed to be severed before sale or under the contract of sale”. Clearly, human beings have not been included in the ambit of the definition of “goods”.
      In the aforementioned problem, the child does not come under the scope of “goods”. Thus, Section 168 does not apply in this case, since it relates specifically to the finder of “goods” only. Hence, we can conclude that the servant cannot refuse to send the child back in the custody of his father until he receives the award, under section 168 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

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