Let the principal be held responsible.
Meaning of the legal term: A person who gets his work done through another is liable for all the
consequences from that act.
The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior is the doctrine of vicarious liability.
It simply means that, the principal or the master is liable for the torts and frauds committed by
his agent or servant during the course of his employment.
The vicarious liability arises in the following cases:
1. Master and Servant: A master is liable for the acts done by his servant which he does
in the course of his employment.
2. Principal and Agent: Principal engages the agent to act on his behalf which creates a
relationship between them and since the principal put the agent in a situation where a tort
is committed, the principal is held liable for the acts of his agent.
3. Firm and its partners: In a partnership firm each partner acts on behalf of the other
partner or on behalf of the firm. Hence, a firm is liable for the act committed by its
However, where the act done by the servant or the agent is his private work and is not
connected with master’s work, it will be considered as outside the course of the employment
and the master will not be liable for it.
In whatman v. Pearson case, a carter was incharge of a horse and cart throughout the day.
Without permission of the master he drove them home ½ mile out of his way for his mid day
dinner and left the horse unattended outside his home. His employer was held liable for the
damage done by the horse when it ran away.
credit: Megha Balakrishna Kotian