Category Archives: Negligence

Composite Negligence and Contributory Negligence – Difference Between

‘Composite Negligence’ refers to the negligence on the part of two or more persons. Where a person is injured as a result of negligence on the part of two or more wrong doers, it is said that the person was injured on account of the composite negligence of those wrongdoers. In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them. In such a case, the injured need not establish the extent of responsibility of each wrongdoer separately, nor is it necessary for the court to determine the extent of liability of each wrongdoer separately. On the other hand where a person suffers injury, partly due to the negligence on the part of another person or persons and partly as a result of his own negligence, then the negligence on the part of the injured which contributed to the accident is referred to as his ‘contributory negligence’. Where the injured is guilty of some negligence, his claim for damages is not defeated merely by reason of the negligence on his part but the damages recoverable by him in respect of the injuries stand reduced in proportion to his contributory negligence. Pawan Kumar v. Harkishan Dass Mohan Lal and others, (2014) 3 SCC 590.

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“Negligence”, “Culpable Rashness” and “Culpable Negligence”

“Negligence” means omission to do something which a reasonable and prudent person guided by the consideration which ordinarily regulate human affairs would do or doing something which a prudent and reasonable person guided by similar considerations would not do. Negligence is not an absolute term but is a relative one; it is rather a comparative term. It is difficult to state with precision any mathematically exact formula by which negligence or lack of it can be infallibly measured in a given case. Whether there exists negligence per se or the course of conduct amounts to negligence will normally depend upon the attending and surrounding facts and circumstances which have to be taken into consideration by the court. In a give case, even doing what one was ought to do can constitute negligence.
“Culpable Rashness” is acting with the consciousness that mischievous and illegal consequences may follow but with the hope that they will not and often with the belief that the actor has taken sufficient precautions to prevent their happening. The imputability arises from acting despite consciousness (luxuria).
“Culpable negligence” is acting without the consciousness that the illegal and mischevious effect will follow, but in circumstances which show that the actor has not exercised the action incumbent upon him and that if he had, he would have had the consciousness. The imputability arises from the neglect of civil duty of circumspection. Ravi Kapur v. State of Rajasthan, (2012) 9 SCC 284.

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