Absolute liability and Strict Liability – Indian Judiciary – Free PDF Download



At times a person may be held responsible for doing a wrong even though there had been no negligence on his part or no intention to do such wrong or even if he had taken necessary steps to prevent such a wrong from happening. This is known as the principle of strict liability and is based on a no fault theory.

The essential elements of strict liability are as follows:

  • There has to be some hazardous thing brought by the defendant on his land.
  • Escape of the hazardous thing from the territory of the defendant.
  • Prima facie Liability


  • Escape of the hazardous goods was because of plaintiffs own consent
  • Act of god
  • Act of a stranger
  • Act done by any statutory authority
  • Default of the plaintiff


Absolute liability is a stricter form of strict liability. It refers to the no-fault theory liability in which the wrongdoer is held absolutely liable for the act of omission or commission without any defences which are available to the rule of strict liability.

case where Absolute Liability was upheld

Bhopal Gas Tragedy / Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India, (1991) 4 SCC 54

2nd December 1984, the plant leaked 40 tons of dangerous gas (methyl isocyanate).

Where an enterprise is engaged in a hazardous or inherently dangerous activity, and harm results to anyone on account of an accident in the operation of such activity is strictly and absolutely liable to compensate all those who are affected by the accident, and such liability is not subject to any of the exceptions.

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