Written by:Adv. Pooja Gupta

Contract of Bailment under the Indian Contract Law

Introduction of the Bailment of Contract: The “Bailment” is derived from the French word “Bailor”, which indicate to “grant” or to “deliver”. It is now a technical term of the law of bailment in legal system, where it refers to the having to hand over of any other kind of property, particularly a good, for a given period of time. It involves a change of possession, which means the delivery of goods that must be transferred or delivered in the manner specified by the giver.

Definitions of the Bailment Contract Accordance with Section 148: – A “Bailment” is the delivery of products by a person/individual for any other object under the condition that they, i.e. Goods, will be regressed or otherwise disposed of as directed by the person delivering them when the object or purpose is accomplished.

What is the distinction between the words Bailor and Bailee?

The “bailor” is the person or individual who delivers the goods, and the “bailee” is the person or individual to whom the service is delivered, according to Section 148.

For instance, ram rents his car to Ramesh for a day, Ramesh prepares the ring, and ramesh collects some service charges from ram. The bailor is Ram. Ramesh is bailee. It is a bailment control.

The key features of a contract of bailment are as follows:

  • The bailor delivers the goods.
  • Delivery should be based on the contract.
  • This type of delivery should serve a specific purpose.
  • This type of delivery is only for a limited time.

Delivery of possession: The transfer of property from one person towards another is perhaps the most essential part of bailment. Products are only delivered for a limited time and for a specific reason. Because the purpose has expired, the goods must be returned to the bailor.


Two types of delivery:

  1. Actual Delivery: It can be accomplished by handing something over to the bailee.
  2. Constructive or symbolic delivery is achieved to do something that places the products in the hands of the desired bailee or another authorized person to keep them on their behalf.

“Blackstone explicates” a Bailment:

(An act of delivering goods to a bailee for a specific purpose) is the delivery of products in the belief that a contract, express or implied, that the bailee will be faithfully executed on behalf of the bailee (a person or party to whom goods are delivered for a purpose).

The plaintiff went out for dinner at a restaurant. When he entered the building, the waiter picked up his coat and hung it behind him on a hook. The coat was gone when the plaintiff got up to leave. The waiter was assumed to be responsible for keeping the coat while the customer was eating.

In the case of Kalia Perumal Pillai vs Visalakshmi air 1938

A woman gave a jeweler some gold to make new ornaments. This work was carried out at the house of the jeweler under the supervision of the lady. The woman would lock the half-manufactured gem into a box every evening, leave the box in the house of a jeweler, but take her key away. The gems were stolen one night.

The question was raised in the suit brought by the Lady, whether the jewels were owned by the goldsmith or the lady, and it was concluded that in the scenarios each evening the jewels were delivered to the Lady and that the goldsmith could not be considered to have them when they’ve been stolen.

The goods delivery should be contract-based:

But while bail is usually on a contract basis, there are certain exceptions, for example when bailee is a minor. In the case of a finder of the goods (sec. 168) no agreement is concluded between the finder of the lost item and the owner; in law, the finder shall be treated as bailee of the lost item.

The purpose of delivery should be clear:

The purpose of bailment is to deliver the bailee temporary custody of the property. For a specific purpose and intent, the bailor entrusts his goods to the surety. for example,  We give cloth to a tailor to sew our clothes,  We are the bailor, and the tailor is the bailee. Its primary role is to sew clothes.

Delivery is for temporary:

 Temporary delivery: goods/products delivered to a bailee are designed to be deliberately owned for a limited period and for a specific reason. It is the bailee’s responsibility to return it after the specified time has elapsed.

For a limited period and for a particular reason the products that are entrusted to a bailee are held. After the prescribed time or purpose is served, it is the duty of the bailee to return it. The service shall only be delivered for a limited time period.

The various forms of bailment are as follows:

Gratuitous Bailment: When the bailee doesn’t charge for the bailment, it is referred to as gratuitous bailment.

Reward Bailment: If the bailor charges for his services, this is called the reward bailment.

Bailment for use: if the bailor sends a bailee product for general use or specific use, this is called bailment for use. This is called bailment to use.

illustration, X gives Y for one month’s use of his watch. Bailment refers to the bailment for use in this context.

Bailment for Safe Custody: When valuable goods, such as coins or notes, are placed in a box for protection, this is referred to as bailment for safe custody.

Illustration X hands over his watch to y in exchange for the letter, which will be kept safe for two months.

Mutual Benefit Bailment: Whenever a bailer gives his article to someone for maintenance or gives his goods to a carrier carriage, this is non as for mutual bailment benefit.

Bail in exchange for a pledge:

A contract where a lender holds an item as securities for loan repayment or promise fulfillment.

Bailment for the Recovery of Lost Property: If someone has already owns the lost property, he has become the bailee, and the owner has become the bailor.


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