Q. ‘A’ threw a lighted cracker in a crowded market. It fell on B’s shop. ‘C’ was standing nearby. To save himself and B’s shop too, ‘C’ threw the cracker away. It then fell on D’s shop. ‘D’ in his turn, threw it away which then fell on ‘E’ who became blind. Decide who is liable to ‘E’?
Civil Services/I.A.S. (Main) Exam, 2008
Ans: ‘A’ is liable to ‘E’ – Scott v. Shepherd, 17 WB 1892.
Reasons: In the famous Wagon Mound’s case it was held regarding doctrine of Remoteness of damage that a person can be held liable for his act only when a prudent man can foresee the injury caused by his act.
The answer of this problem has been best explained by the learned author Ratan Lal in his work on Law of Torts (25th Edn., page 186). The learned author states—
“Intended consequences of the tort feaser are evidently foreseeable. But an intentional wrongdoer’s liability will cover all consequences, whether foreseeable or not, which results from his wrongful act. This is not affected by the Wagon Mound case. The striking illustration of the extent of intentional wrongdoer’s liability is furnished by the case of Scott v. Shepherd, where the defendant threw a lighted squib into the market house when it was crowded. The fiery missile came down on the shed of a vendor of ginger bread who to protect himself caught it dexterously and threw it away from him. It then fell on the shed of another ginger bread seller, who passed it on in precisely, the same way, till at last it burst in the plaintiff’s face and put his eye out. The defendant was held liable to the plaintiff.”
In support of above explanation the learned author remarks—“It is an application of the same or similar principle that in action for deceit which is an intentional tort, the tort-feasor is liable for all actual damage whether foreseeable or not, which directly flows from the fraudulent act”. [Doyie v. Olby Ltd., (1969) 2 QB 158.]
Facts of the given problem are similar to Scott v. Shephered thus from the above discussions and decision given in the famous case of Scott v. Shephered it is clear that in the given problem ‘A’ is liable to ‘E’.
Sourcre: Kishor Prasad