The Indian Carriage of Goods by Sea Act was enacted on 21st September 1925. The Act extends to whole of India. Provisions made under this Act are referred as “Rules” and such rules shall have effect in connection with carriage of goods by sea in ships, which are carried from one port of India to foreign ports(outside India). Act covers various definitions like “Carrier, Contract of Carriage, Carriage of goods, Goods and Ship”. For the act “Goods are those which covers not only live animals but also containers, or pallets or any similar articles of transport or packing supplied by the consignor, regardless of whether such property is to be or is carried on or under deck” and “Ship is that vessel which is used to carry goods by sea from one place to another”. Any contract made for carrying of goods by sea carrier whether it could for loading, carriage, handling etc, is governed under rules like “responsibilities and liabilities” and “rights and immunities” by this act.
At the start of the journey carrier is bound to take proper care and diligence such as ship is made safe to go in sea, properly equip the ship, see whether the refrigeration, and other cooling parts in ship are proper and in good working condition. In other words, the ship should be properly loaded with all due diligence and other conditions in favour of sea so that ship is properly taken from one place to other. After the ship is loaded the shipper can ask for bill of lading. That bill of lading will show weight, quantity, pieces of goods that are loaded, necessary marks that are given to identify goods, time that the ship will reach the destination, insurance covered for any loss or damages if to occur. As the carrier has to take care and diligence there are certain rights and protection to them.
Ship or the carrier is not responsible for any loss which can be happen due to sea, act of god, act of war, any riots and civil disturbance, segregated restriction act of public enemies, saving or trying to save life of property at sea, insufficiency in packing, insufficiency or not exact marking on goods, latent defects not discoverable by due diligence, if there is any fire caught to ship or carrier. But this act will not immune the shipper or carrier if such loss or damage is caused purpose or if there is any negligence while doing so. Good which are explosive and dangerous in nature and is not in knowledge or not assented about nature to carrier or master may ant any time before discharge be landed at any place or destroyed by the carrier without compensation then the such shipper will be liable for all damages expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from such shipment. Even the shipper or carrier is not responsible for any act or mistake which has done by their servant or agent.
Thus Carrier or ship are at there own discretion to whole or in part autonomy increase the liabilities or immunities as they feel so i.e., they can increase the responsibilities and waive the immunity or if they feel they can increase the immunity and waive the responsibility. The agreement made should be legally valid and thus possess legal effect. In short, any carrier or ship is not exempted from entering into agreement they has to enter in agreement for safety purpose which will include condition of goods, reservation or waiving of responsibilities and immunities, handling of goods with proper care, loss or any damages.
Thus, main purpose for lading the Bill by the Legislature so that rules which are mentioned in act will bring uniformity and stability and importantly assure that goods that are loaded will be taken to the given point carefully and in proper manner which guarded with rules i.e., with legal foundation.
by Samata Kulkarni