South Indian Industrial Ltd vs Alamelu Ammal case clarified on the legal point that mere knowledge of risk is not sufficient and further that ‘negligence’ defeats ‘volenti no fit injuria’.
1. SII Ltd (appellant-defendant in this appeal at Madras HC), a company was using a mechanism to break blocks of iron to pieces by throwing them in an iron pit from a height of 35 feet.
2. They installed a screen to prevent the pieces from jumping far away from the pit.
3. An employee (plaintiff-respondent herein) was working 70-80 feet away from the pit. A block of iron flew as far as him & hit him, causing injury.
4. Employee sued the company for the claim of damages.
5. Upheld by lower Court.
6. This appeal is by the SII Ltd challenging Lower Court’s decision.
1. Employees in the pit’s vicinity were provided with proper safety measures. The warning was issued and the employee (respondent) knew the risk of injury.
2. The appellant claims the defence of volenti non fit injuria.
Can say that plaintiff, i.e. the deceased, voluntarily undertook the risk of injury happening to him, and can we say that the defendant is guilty of negligence?
Ratio & Decision: Walter J.
1. Court said, to take the defence of volenti not fit injuria, one has to prove these 3 things:
- Knowledge of the danger to the aggrieved.
- They must appreciate this fact & work accordingly.
- They took the risk voluntarily.
2. In this case, the respondent, even though he knew the risk in the work, didn’t appreciate the fact that an iron block could flow and hit from such an enormous distance. Also confirmed by an experienced engineer, even he also couldn’t foresee the same. And also the respondent never took the risk voluntarily.
Therefore, the appeal is DISMISSED.
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