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What are the duties and rights of a common carrier ?

The duties of the common carrier in India are governed by the carrier’s act 1865, and by the rules of the English law. These duties are as follows.

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Duties of a common carrier :

1. A common carrier must receive and carry the goods of all persons who offer them. The consignor can recover damages from the carrier if he wrongfully refuses to accept and carry his goods. But a common carrier cannot be compelled to carry the goods in the following cases :

(a) If his vehicle is already full;

(b) If the goods are inadequately dangerous nature;

(c) If the goods are inadequately packed;

(d) If the goods belong to a class which he does not profess to carry;

(e) If the route through which the goods are to be carried is in a disturbed state;

2. A common carrier must follow his customary route and must not deviate from it without cause. He need not carry by the shortest route.

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3. He is bound to carry the goods safely

4. He must deliver the goods to the consignee within the time expressed in the contract or within a reasonable time.

5. He must deliver the goods to the consignee at the place designated by the consignor; unless the consignee requires the goods to be delivered at another place.

Rights of a common carrier

1. He can ask the consignor to deliver the goods to him.

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2. He can claim payment in advance i.e., before he carries, but not before he receives the goods.

3. He is entitled to reasonable compensation for the services rendered.

4. He has a lien to retain the goods until his charges for the carriage are paid. It is a particular and not general lien. The lien cannot be enforced if the carrier has agreed to give credit.

5. The carrier is entitled to make a charge for the unreasonable detention of his vehicles by the consignor of the consignee. This is the right to charge demurrage.

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6. Where a consignor delivers goods of a dangerous character to a common carrier, the consignor will be liable in damages if the carrier suffers any loss or injury there from.

7. A common carrier has a right to refuse to carry the goods under certain circumstances.

8. A common carrier can limit his liability by entering into a special contract under certain circumstances.

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