Fire Insurance Under Indian Insurance Law

A contract of Insurance comes into being when a person seeking insurance protection enters into a contract with the insurer to indemnify him against loss of property by or incidental to fire and or lightening, explosion, etc. This is primarily a contract and hence as is governed by the general law of contract. However, it has certain special features as insurance transactions, such as utmost faith, insurable interest, indemnity, subrogation and contribution, etc. these principles are common in all insurance contracts and are governed by special principles of law.

FIRE INSURANCE:

According to S. 2(6A), “fire insurance business” means the business of effecting, otherwise than incidentally to some other class of insurance business, contracts of insurance against loss by or incidental to fire or other occurrence, customarily included among the risks insured against in fire insurance business.

According to Halsbury, it is a contract of insurance by which the insurer agrees for consideration to indemnify the assured up to a certain extent and subject to certain terms and conditions against loss or damage by fire, which may happen to the property of the assured during a specific period.

Thus, fire insurance is a contract whereby the person, seeking insurance protection, enters into a contract with the insurer to indemnify him against loss of property by or incidental to fire or lightning, explosion etc. This policy is designed to insure one’s property and other items from loss occurring due to complete or partial damage by fire.

In its strict sense, a fire insurance contract is one:

1. Whose principle object is insurance against loss or damage occasioned by fire.

2. The extent of insurer’s liability being limited by the sum assured and not necessarily by the extent of loss or damage sustained by the insured: and

3. The insurer having no interest in the safety or destruction of the insured property apart from the liability undertaken under the contract.

LAW GOVERNING FIRE INSURANCE

There is no statutory enactment governing fire insurance, as in the case of marine insurance which is regulated by the Indian Marine Insurance Act, 1963. the Indian Insurance Act, 1938 mainly dealt with regulation of insurance business as such and not with any general or special principles of the law relating fire of other insurance contracts. So also the General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act, 1872. in the absence of any legislative enactment on the subject , the courts in India have in dealing with the topic of fire insurance have relied so far on judicial decisions of Courts and opinions of English Jurists.

In determining the value of property damaged or destroyed by fire for the purpose of indemnity under a policy of fire insurance, it was the value of the property to the insured, which was to be measured. Prima facie that value was measured by reference of the market value of the property before and after the loss. However such method of assessment was not applicable in cases where the market value did not represent the real value of the property to the insured, as where the property was used by the insured as a home or, for carrying business. In such cases, the measure of indemnity was the cost of reinstatement. In the case of Lucas v. New Zealand Insurance Co. Ltd.[1] where the insured property was purchased and held as an income-producing investment, and therefore the court held that the proper measure of indemnity for damage to the property by fire was the cost of reinstatement.

INSURABLE INTEREST

A person who is so interested in a property as to have benefit from its existence and prejudice by its destruction is said to have insurable interest in that property. Such a person can insure the property against fire.

The interest in the property must exist both at the inception as well as at the time of loss. If it does not exist at the commencement of the contract it cannot be the subject-matter of the insurance and if it does not exist at the time of the loss, he suffers no loss and needs no indemnity. Thus, where he sells the insured property and it is damaged by fire thereafter, he suffers no loss.

RISKS COVERED UNDER FIRE INSURANCE POLICY

The date of conclusion of a contract of insurance is issuance of the policy is different from the acceptance or assumption of risk. Section 64-VB only lays down broadly that the insurer cannot assume risk prior to the date of receipt of premium. Rule 58 of the Insurance Rules, 1939 speaks about advance payment of premiums in view of sub section (!) of Section 64 VB which enables the insurer to assume the risk from the date onwards. If the proposer did not desire a particular date, it was possible for the proposer to negotiate with insurer about that term. Precisely, therefore the Apex Court has said that final acceptance is that of the assured or the insurer depends simply on the way in which negotiations for insurance have progressed. Though the following are risks which seem to have covered Fire Insurance Policy but are not totally covered under the Policy. Some of contentious areas are as follows:

FIRE: Destruction or damage to the property insured by its own fermentation, natural heating or spontaneous combustion or its undergoing any heating or drying process cannot be treated as damage due to fire. For e.g., paints or chemicals in a factory undergoing heat treatment and consequently damaged by fire is not covered. Further, burning of property insured by order of any Public Authority is excluded from the scope of cover.

LIGHTNING : Lightning may result in fire damage or other types of damage, such as a roof broken by a falling chimney struck by lightning or cracks in a building due to a lightning strike. Both fire and other types of damages caused by lightning are covered by the policy.

AIRCRAFT DAMAGE: The loss or damage to property (by fire or otherwise) directly caused by aircraft and other aerial devices and/ or articles dropped there from is covered. However, destruction or damage resulting from pressure waves caused by aircraft traveling at supersonic speed is excluded from the scope of the policy.

RIOTS, STRIKES, MALICIOUS AND TERRORISM DAMAGES: The act of any person taking part along with others in any disturbance of public peace (other than war, invasion, mutiny, civil commotion etc.) is construed to be a riot, strike or a terrorist activity. Unlawful action would not be covered under the policy.

STORM, CYCLONE, TYPHOON, TEMPEST, HURRICANE, TORNADO, FLOOD and INUNDATION: Storm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Tornado and Hurricane are all various types of violent natural disturbances that are accompanied by thunder or strong winds or heavy rainfall. Flood or Inundation occurs when the water rises to an abnormal level. Flood or inundation should not only be understood in the common sense of the terms, i.e., flood in river or lakes, but also accumulation of water due to choked drains would be deemed to be flood.

IMPACT DAMAGE: Impact by any Rail/ Road vehicle or animal by direct contact with the insured property is covered. However, such vehicles or animals should not belong to or owned by the insured or any occupier of the premises or their employees while acting in the course of their employment.

SUBSIDENCE AND LANDSLIDE INCULUDING ROCKSIDE: Destruction or damage caused by Subsidence of part of the site on which the property stands or Landslide/ Rockslide is covered. While Subsidence means sinking of land or building to a lower level, Landslide means sliding down of land usually on a hill.

However, normal cracking, settlement or bedding down of new structures; settlement or movement of made up ground; coastal or river erosion; defective design or workmanship or use of defective materials; and demolition, construction, structural alterations or repair of any property or ground-works or excavations, are not covered.

BURSTING AND/OR OVERFLOWING OF WATER TANKS, APPARATUS AND PIPES: Loss or damage to property by water or otherwise on account of bursting or accidental overflowing of water tanks, apparatus and pipes is covered.

MISSILE TESTING OPERATIONS: Destruction or damage, due to impact or otherwise from trajectory/ projectiles in connection with missile testing operations by the Insured or anyone else, is covered.

LEAKAGE FROM AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER INSTALLATIONS: Damage, caused by water accidentally discharged or leaked out from automatic sprinkler installations in the insured’s premises, is covered. However, such destruction or damage caused by repairs or alterations to the buildings or premises; repairs removal or extension of the sprinkler installation; and defects in construction known to the insured, are not covered.

BUSH FIRE: This covers damage caused by burning, whether accidental or otherwise, of bush and jungles and the clearing of lands by fire, but excludes destruction or damage, caused by Forest Fire.

RISKS NOT COVERED BY FIRE INSURANCE POLICY

Claims not maintainable/ covered under this policy are as follows:

o Theft during or after the occurrence of any insured risks

o War or nuclear perils

o Electrical breakdowns

o Ordered burning by a public authority

o Subterranean fire

o Loss or damage to bullion, precious stones, curios (value more than Rs.10000), plans, drawings, money, securities, cheque books, computer records except if they are categorically included.

o Loss or damage to property moved to a different location (except machinery and equipment for cleaning, repairs or renovation for more than 60 days).

CHARACTERICTICS OF FIRE INSURANCE CONTRACT

A fire insurance contract has the following characteristics namely:

(a) Fire insurance is a personal contract

A fire insurance contract does not ensure the safety of the insured property. Its purpose is to see that the insured does not suffer loss by reason of his interest in the insured property. Hence, if his connection with the insured property ceases by being transferred to another person, the contract of insurance also comes to an end. It is not so connected with the subject matter of the insurance as to pass automatically to the new owner to whom the subject is transferred. The contract of fire insurance is thus a mere a personal contract between the insured and the insurer for the payment of money. It can be validly assigned to another only with the consent of the insurer.

(b) It is entire and indivisible contract.

Where the insurance is of a binding and its contents of stock and machinery, the contract is expressly agreed to be divisible. Thus , where the insured is guilty of breach of duty towards the insurer in respect of one subject matters covered by the policy , the insurer can avoid the contract as a whole and not only in respect of that particular subject mater , unless the right is restricted by the terms of the policy.

(c) Cause of fire is immaterial

In insuring against fire, the insured wishes to protect him from any loss or detriment which he may suffer upon the occurrence of a fire, however it may be caused. So long as the loss is due to fire within the meaning of the policy, it is immaterial what the cause of fire is, generally. Thus , whether it was because the fire was lighted improperly or was lighted properly but negligently attended to thereafter or whether the fire was caused on account of the negligence of the insured or his servants or strangers is immaterial and the insurer is liable to indemnify the insured. In the absence of fraud, the proximate cause of the loss only is to be looked to.

The cause of the fire however becomes material to be investigated

(1). Where the fire is occasioned not by the negligence of, but by the willful

(2) Where the fire is due is to cause falling with the exception in the contract.

LIMITATION OF TIME

Indemnity insurance was an agreement by the insurer to confer on the insured a contractual right, which prima facie, came into existence immediately when the loss was suffered by the happening of an event insured against, to be put by the insurer into the same position in which the accused would have had the event not occurred but in no better position. There was a primary liability, i.e. to indemnify, and a secondary liability i.e. to put the insured in his pre-loss position, either by paying him a specifying amount or it might be in some other manner. But the fact that the insurer had an option as to the way in which he would put the insured into pre-loss position did not mean that he was not liable to indemnify him in one way or another, immediately the loss occurred. The primary liability arises on the happening of the event insured against. So, the time ran from the date of the loss and not from the date on which the policy was avoided and any suit filed after that time limit would be barred by limitation.[2]

WHO MAY INSURE AGAINST FIRE?

Only those who have insurable interest in a property can take fire insurance thereon. The following are among the class of persons who have been held to possess insurable interest in, property and can insure such property:

1. Owners of property, whether sole, or joint owner, or partner in the firm owning the property. It is not necessary that they should possession also. Thus a lesser and a lessee can both insure it jointly or severely.

2. The vender and purchaser have both rights to insure. The vendor’s interest continues until the conveyance is completed and even thereafter, if he has an unpaid vendor’s lien over it.

3. The mortgagor and mortgagee have both distinct interests in the mortgaged property and can insure, per Lord Esher M.R.”The mortgagee does not claim his interest through the mortgagor , but by virtue of the mortgage which has given him an interest distinct from that of the mortgagor”[3]

4. Trustees are legal owners and beneficiaries the beneficial owners of trust property and each can insure it.

5. Bailees such as carriers, pawnbrokers or warehouse men are responsible for there safety of the property entrusted to them and so can insure it.

PERSON NOT ENTITLED TO INSURE

One who has no insurable interest in a property cannot insure it. For example:

1. An unsecured creditor cannot insure his debtor’s property, because his right is only against the debtor personally. He can, however, insure the debtor’s life.

2. A shareholder in a company cannot insure the property of the company as he has no insurable interest in any asset of the company even if he is the sole shareholder. As was the case of Macaura v. Northen Assurance Co.[4] Macaura. Because neither as a simple creditor nor as a shareholder had he any insurable interest in it.

CONCEPT OF UTMOST FAITH

As all contracts of insurance are contracts of utmost good faith, the proposer for fire insurance is also under a positive duty to make a full disclosure of all material facts and not to make any misrepresentations or misdescreptions thereof during the negotiations for obtaining the policy. This duty of utmost good faith applies equally to the insurer and the insured. There must be complete good faith on the part of the assured. This duty to observe utmost good faith is ensured b requiring the proposer to declare that the statements in the proposal form are true, that they shall be the basis of the contract and that any incorrect or false statement therein shall avoid the policy. The insurer can then rely on them to assess the risk and to fix appropriate premium and accept the risk or decline it.

The questions in the proposal form for a fire policy are so framed as to get all information which is material to the insurer to know in order to assess the risk and fix the premium, that is, all material facts. Thus the proposer is required too give information relating to:

o The proposer’s name and address and occupation

o The description of the subject matter to be insured sufficient for the purpose of identifying it including,

o A description of the locality where it is situated

o How the property is being used, whether for any manufacturing purpose or hazardous trade.etc

o Whether it has already been insured

o And also ant personal insurance history including the claims if any made buy the proposer, etc.

Apart from questions in the proposal form, the proposer should disclose whether questioned or not-

1. Any information which would indicate the risk of fire to be above normal;

2. Any fact which would indicate that the insurer’s liability may be more than normal can be expected such as existence of valuable manuscripts or documents, etc, and

3. Any information bearing upon the more; hazard involved.

The proposer is not obliged to disclose-

1. Information which the insurer may be presumed to know in the ordinary course of his business as an insurer;

2. Facts which tend to show that the risk is lesser than otherwise;

3. Facts as to which information is waived by the insurer; and

4. Facts which need not disclosed in view of a policy condition.

Thus, assured is under a solemn obligation to make full disclosure of material facts which may be relevant for the insurer to take into account while deciding whether the proposal should be accepted or not. While making a disclosure of the relevant facts, the

DOCTRINE OF PROXIMATE CAUSE

Where more perils than one act simultaneously or successively, it will be difficult to assess the relative effect of each peril or pick out one of these as the actual cause of the loss. In such cases, the doctrine of proximate cause helps to determine the actual cause of the loss.

Proximate cause was defined in Pawsey v. Scottish Union and National Ins. Co.,[5]as “the active, effective cause that sets in motion a train of events which brings about a result without the intervention of any force started and working actively from a new and independent source.” It is dominant and effective cause even though it is not the nearest in time. It is therefore necessary when a loss occurs to investigate and ascertain what is the proximate cause of the loss in order to determine whether the insurer is liable for the loss.

PROXIMATE CAUSE OF DAMAGE

A fire policy covers risks where damage is caused by way of fire. The fire may be caused by lightening, by explosion or implosion. It may be result of riot, strike or on account of any, malicious act. However these factors must ultimately lead to a fire and the fire must be the proximate cause of damage. Therefore, a loss caused by theft of property by militants would not be covered by the fire policy. The view that the loss was covered under the malicious act clause and therefore .the insurer was liable to meet the claim is untenable, because unless and until fire is the proximate cause f damage, no claim under a fire policy would be maintainable.[6]

PROCEDURE FOR TAKING A FIRE INSURANCE POLICY

The steps involved for taking a fire insurance policy are mentioned below:

1. Selection of the Insurance Company:

There are many companies that offer fire insurance against unforeseen events. The individual or the company must take care in the selection of an insurance company. The judgment should rest on factors like goodwill, and long term standing in the market. The insurance companies can either be approached directly or through agents, some of them who are appointed by the company itself.

2. Submission of the Proposal Form:

The individual or the business owner must submit a completed prescribed proposal form with the necessary details to the insurance company for proper consideration and subsequent approval. The information in the Proposal Form should be given in good faith and must be accompanied by documents that verify the actual worth of the property or goods that are to be insured. Most of the companies have their own personalized Proposal Forms wherein the exact information has to be provided.

3. Survey of the Property/ Consideration:

Once the duly filled Proposal Form is submitted to the insurance company, it makes an “on the spot” survey of the property or the goods that are the subject matter of the insurance. This is usually done by the investigators, or the surveyors, who are appointed by the company and they need to report back to them after a thorough research and survey. This is imperative to assess the risk involved and calculate the rate of premium.

4. Acceptance of the Proposal:

Once the detailed and comprehensive report is submitted to the insurance company by the surveyors and related officers, the former makes a thorough perusal of the Proposal Form and the report. If the company is satisfied that their is no lacuna or foul play or fraud involved, it formally “accepts” the Proposal Form and directs the insured to pay the first premium to the company. It is to be noted that the insurance policy commences after the payment and the acceptance of the premium by the insured and the company, respectively. The Insurance Company issues a Cover Note after the acceptance of the first premium.

PROCEDURE ON RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF LOSS

On receipt of the notice of loss, the insurer requires the insured to furnish details pertaining to the loss in a claim from relating to the following information-

1. Circumstances and cause of the fire;

2. Occupancy and situation of the premises in which the fire occurred;

3. Insured’s interest in the insured property; that is capacity in which the insured claims and whether any others are interested in the property;

4. Other insurances on the property;

5. Value of each item of the property at the time of loss together with proofs thereof , and value of the salvage ,if any; and

6. Amount claimed

Furnishing such information relating to the claim is also a condition precedent to the liability of the insurer. The above information will enable the insurer to verify whether-

(1) The policy is in force;

(2) The peril causing the loss is an insured peril;

(3) The property damaged or lost is the insured property.

Rules for calculation of value of property

The value of the insured property is-

1) Its value at the time of loss, and

2) At the place of loss, and

3) Its real or intrinsic value without any regard for its sentimental vale. Loss of prospective profit or other consequential loss is not to be taken into account.

FILING OF CLAIMS

How a claim arises?

After a contract of fire insurance has come into existence, a claim may arise by the operation of one or more insured perils on an unsecured property. There may in addition one or more uninsured perils also operating simultaneously or in succession of the property. In order that the claim should be valid the following conditions must be fulfilled:

1. The occurrence should take place due to the operation of an insured peril or where both insured and other perils operated , the dominant or efficient cause of the loss must have been an insured peril;

2. The operation of the peril must not come within the scope of the policy exceptions;

3. The event must have caused loss or damage of the insured property;

4. The occurrence must be during the currency of the policy;

5. The insured must have fulfilled all the policy conditions and should also comply with requirements to be fulfilled after the claim had arisen.

MATERIAL FACTS IN FIRE INSURANCE: PREVIOUS CONVICTION OF THE ACCUSED

The criminal record of an assured could affect the moral hazard, which insurers had to assess, and the non-disclosure of a serious criminal offence like robbery by the plaintiff would a material non-disclosure.

INSURED’S DUTY ON OUTBREAK OF FIRE, IMPLIED DUTY

On the outbreak of a fire the insured is under an implied duty to observe good faith towards the insurers and the in pursuance of it the insured must do his best to avert or minimize the loss. For this purpose he must (1) take all reasonable measures to put out the fire or prevent its spread, and (2) assist the fire brigade and others in their attempts to do so at any rate not come in their way.

With this object the insured property may be removed to a place of safety. Any loss or damage the insured property may sustain in the course of attempts to combat the fire or during its removal to a place of safety etc., will be deemed to be loss proximately caused by the fire.

If the insured fails in his duty willfully and thereby increases the burden of the insurer, the insured will be deprived of his right to revive any indemnity under the policy.[7]

INSURER’S RIGHTS ON THE OUTBREAK OF FIRE

(A) Implied Rights

Corresponding to the insured’s duties the insurers have rights by the law, in view of the liability they have undertaken to indemnify the insured. Thus the insurers have a right to-

o Take reasonable measures to extinguish the fire and to minimize the loss to property, and

o For that purpose, to enter upon and take possession of the property.

The insurers will be liable to make good all the damage the property may sustain during the steps taken to put out the fire and as long as it in their possession, because all that is considered the natural and direct consequence of the fire; it has therefore been held in the case of Ahmedbhoy Habibhoy v. Bombay Fire Marine Ins. Co [8] that the extent of the damage flowing from the insured peril must be assessed when the insurer gives back and not as at the time when the peril ceased.

(B) Loss caused by steps taken to avert the risk

Damage sustained due to action taken to avoid an insured risk was not a consequence of that risk and was not recoverable unless the insured risk had begun to operate. In the case of Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co. Ltd v. Canadian General Electric Co. Ltd., [9] the Canadian Supreme Court held that “the loss was caused by the fire fighters’ mistaken belief that their action was necessary to avert an explosion , and the loss was not recoverable under the insurance policy, which covered only damage caused by fire explosion., and the loss was not recoverable under the insurance policy, which covered only damage caused by fire or explosion.”

(C) Express rights

Condition 5- in order to protect their rights well insurers have prescribed for better rights expressly in this condition according to which on the happening of any destruction or damage the insurer and every person authorized by the insurer may enter, take or keep possession of the building or premises where the damage has happened or require it to be delivered to them and deal with it for all reasonable purposes like examining, arranging, removing or sell or dispose off the same for the account of whom it may concern.

When and how a claim is made?

In the event of a fire loss covered under the fire insurance policy, the Insured shall immediately give notice thereof to the insurance company. Within 15 days of the occurrence of such loss, the Insured should submit a claim in writing, giving the details of damages and their estimated values. Details of other insurances on the same property should also be declared.

The Insured should procure and produce, at his own expense, any document like plans, account books, investigation reports etc. on demand by the insurance company.

HOW INSURANCE MAY CEASE?

Insurance under a fire policy may cease in any of the following circumstances, namely:

(1) Insurer avoiding the policy by reason of the insured making misrepresentation, misdescription or non-disclosure of any material particular;

(2) If there is a fall or displacement of any insured building range or structure or part thereof , then on the expiry of seven days wherefrom, except where the fall or displacement was due to the action of any insured peril; notwithstanding this, the insurance may be revived on revised terms if express notice is given to the company as soon as the occurrence takes place;

(3) The insurance may be terminated at any tie at the request of the insured and at the option of the company on 15 days notice to the insured

CONCLUSION

Tangible property is exposed to numerous risks like fire, floods, explosions, earthquake, riot and war, etc. and insurance protection can be had against most of these risks severally or in combination. The form in which the cover is expressed is numerous and varied. Fire insurance in its strict sense is concerned with giving protection against fire and fire only. So while granting a fire insurance policy all the requisites need be fulfilled. The insured are under a moral and legal obligation to be at utmost good faith and should be telling true facts and not just fake grounds only with the greed to recover money. Further all insurance policies help in the development of a Developing nation. Hence insurance companies have a burden to help the insured when the insured are in trouble.

REFERENCE:

1. (1983) VR 698 (Supreme Court of Vienna)

2. Callaghan v. Dominion Insurance Co. Ltd. (1997) 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 541 (QBD)

3. Small v. U.K Marine Insurance Association (1897) 2 QB 311

4. (1925) AC 619

5. (1907) Case.

6. National Insurance Company v. Ashok Kumar Barariio

7. Devlin v. Queen Insurance Co, (1882) 46 UCR 611.

8. (1912) 40 IA 10 PC

9. (1981) 123 DLR (3d) 513 (Supreme Court of Canada)

Books Referred:

1. The Economics of Fire Protection by Ganapathy Ramachandran

2. Modern Insurance Law, by John Birds

3. The Handbook of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act and Regulations with Allied Laws ,by Nagar

Source by Apoorva Yadav

Doctrine of Accord and Satisfaction

Doctrine of Accord and Satisfaction

Accord and satisfaction is the purchase of the release from an obligation, whether arising under contract or tort by means of any valuable consideration not being the actual performance of the obligation itself. The accord is the agreement by which the obligation is discharged. The satisfaction is the consideration which makes the agreement operative. The consideration may be executory.

Under English law, an accord without satisfaction is of no effect. In Indian law, an accord is an agreement, there must be consensus ad idem; its validity liable to be judged by the general law of contract quite apart from the provisions of sections 62 and 63 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

A liability arising out of breach of contract may be discharged by the doctrine of accord and satisfaction. An accord is an agreement made after breach whereby some consideration other than the legal remedy is to be accepted by the party not in fault, followed by the performance of the substituted consideration.

The question is, whether an arbitration clause in a contract survived despite the purported satisfaction of the terms of the contract. Normally, an accord and satisfaction by itself would not affect the arbitration clause for even rights and obligations of the parties are worked out, the contract does not come to an end. If the dispute is that the contract itself does not subsist, the question of invoking the arbitration clause may not arise. But in the event it be held that the contract survives, recourse to the arbitration clause may be taken.

The doctrine of accord and satisfaction has many underlying principles, including the acceptance of a lesser sum and acceptance of any satisfaction. The Privy Council gave its views on the doctrine in Payan Reena Saminathan v. Puna Lana Palaniappa [41 IA 142]. The doctrine and its usage in India have been derived from the American Common Law.

BACKGROUND OF THE DOCTRINE

Section 63 of the Indian Contract Act allows a party to a contract to dispense with the performance of the contract by the other party, or to extend the time of performance or to accept any other satisfaction instead of the performance.

According to Section 62 of the Indian Contract Act, on the other hand, every person who accepts a proposal may dispense with or remit wholly or in part, the performance of the proposal made to him which he has accepted, or may extend the time for such performance or may accept instead of it any satisfaction which he thinks fit.

In accordance with section 62 and section 63 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, the party who has the right to demand the performance may:

(i) dispense with or remit the performance; or

(ii) extend the time for performance; or

(iii) accept any other satisfaction instead of performance.

The sections 63 and 62 must be construed so as to not overlap with each other. This can be done by holding that agreements referred to in section 62 are agreements which more or less affect the rights of both the parties to the contract discharged by such agreements. Those referred to in section 63 are such as to affect the right of only one of the parties.

The former case necessarily implies consideration, which may be either the mutual renunciation of right, or, in addition to this, the mutual undertaking of fresh obligations, or the renunciation of some right on the one side and the undertaking of some obligation on the other. It is only when the agreement to discharge affects the right of only one party that consideration might be found wanting. There alone the Indian law departs from the English law by making provisions for every such possible case in section 63. The result is that the agreement set up by the defendant which falls under section 63 is binding, though without consideration.

This section enables the defendant in a suit filed by the promise, dispensing or remitting performance or accepting satisfaction and subsequently trying to enforce, the promise made to him, to plead that he was relieved from performance that which the plaintiff told he need not do. It has been held, in the case of New Standard Bank Ltd. v. Probodh Chandra Chakravarty [AIR 1942 Cal 87], that an agreement made between the parties after the breach of contract may be enforced under this section.

Difference from the English Contract Law:

Under the English law, it is competent for both parties to an executor contract by mutual agreement, without any satisfaction, to discharge the obligation of that contract; in other words, reciprocal promises are a sufficient consideration for each other, so are reciprocal discharges. A contract rescinded by an agreement, stands completely discharged and cannot be revived.

But an executed contract cannot be discharged except by release under seal, or by performance of the obligation, as by payment where the obligation is to be performed by payment. Subject to that exception, ‘the new agreement in rescission or alteration of the prior contract must in general satisfy all the requirements of an independent contract’, and so must an agreement to accept satisfaction for a right of action which has arisen by breach of contract.

This section makes a wide departure from the English law, and the principles of that law cannot be relied upon to interpret the section. The intention of the present section to alter the rule of the common law is clear; and this has been recognised in several Indian cases.

Necessity of satisfaction in a contract:

In 1903, the High Court of Bombay had held (Abaji Sitaram Modak v. Trimbak Municipality) that a dispensation or remission under this section involved a promise as defined by section 2(b) or an agreement within section 2(e), so that ‘there must be a proposal of the dispensation or remission which is accepted’: in technical terms, that the effect of the section is only to allow an accord to be good without satisfaction.

Many jurists have continuously protested against this ruling and suggested that the words of the section ought to be construed according to their natural meaning and a promise could discharge the promise not only without consideration but without a new agreement.

Views of the Privy Council:

The principle of accord and satisfaction has been stated by the Privy Council as a principle of substituted agreement thus in the cases of Reena Saminathan v. Puna Lana Palaniappa [41 IA 142] and UOI v. Kishorilal Gupta & Bros [AIR 1959 SC 1362].:

“The ‘receipt’ given by the appellants and accepted by the respondent, and acted upon by both parties proves conclusively that all the parties agreed to a settlement of all their existing disputes by the arrangement formulated in the ‘receipt’. It is a clear example of what used to be well-known in common law pleading as ‘accord and satisfaction by a substituted agreement’. No matter what were their respective rights of the parties inter se they are abandoned in consideration of acceptance by all of a new agreement. The consequence is that when such an accord or satisfaction takes place, the prior rights of the parties are extinguished. They have, in fact, been extinguished by the new rights; and the new agreement becomes a new departure and the rights of all the parties are fully represented by it.”

There have been two interpretations of this doctrine till date, the situation in which the party not at fault accepts any satisfaction in place of the original consideration and most importantly, when he or she accepts a lesser sum as satisfaction until the previous contract is discharged.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE DOCTRINE

The doctrine of accord and satisfaction is merely a method of discharging a claim whereby the parties agree to give and accept something in settlement of the claim and perform the agreement, the accord being the agreement and the satisfaction its execution or performance, and it is a new contract substituted for an old contract which is thereby discharged, or for an obligation or cause of action which is settled, and must have all of the elements of a valid contract.

To constitute an accord and satisfaction, there must have been a genuine dispute that is settled by a meeting of the minds with an intention to compromise. Where there is an actual controversy, an accord and satisfaction may be used to settle it. The controversy may be founded on contract or tort. It can arise from a collision of motor vehicles, a failure to deliver oranges ordered and paid for, or a refusal to finish constructing an office building, etc.

An accord and satisfaction can be made only by persons who have the legal capacity to enter into a contract. A settlement is not binding on an insane person, for example; and an infant may have the right to disaffirm the contract. Therefore, a person, such as a guardian, acting on behalf of a person incapable of contracting for himself or herself may make an accord and satisfaction for the person committed to his or her charge, but the law may require that the guardian’s actions be supervised by a court.

An executor or administrator may bind an estate; a trustee can accept an accord and satisfaction for a trust; and an officer can negotiate a settlement for a corporation.

A third person may give something in satisfaction of a party’s debt. In such a case, an accord and satisfaction is effected if the creditor accepts the offer and the debtor authorizes, participates in, or later agrees to, the transaction.

For example, a widower has an automobile accident but is mentally unable to cope with a lawsuit because his wife has just died. He gratefully accepts the offer of a close family friend to talk to the other driver, who has been threatening a lawsuit. The friend convinces the other driver that both drivers are at fault to some extent. The friend offers to pay the other driver $500 in damages in exchange for a written statement that she will not make any claim against the widower for damages resulting from the accident. The family friend and the other driver each sign a copy of the statement for the other, and when the payment is made, the accord and satisfaction is complete. If the other driver then sues the widower for more money on account of the accident, the widower could show that he agreed to let his friend negotiate an accord and satisfaction, and the court would deny relief.

Most commonly, this is seen in situations where people lack the capacity to consent and negotiate legal agreements, and the person negotiating the contract may be supervised to confirm that the agreement is in the best interests of the person being represented. People can also reach accord and satisfaction on behalf of someone else more informally; for example, a parent may help an adult child settle a debt to a landlord, acting on behalf of the child to resolve the matter. However, the law may require that the guardian’s actions be supervised by a court. An executor or administrator may bind an estate; a trustee can accept an accord and satisfaction for a trust; and an officer can negotiate a settlement for a corporation.

An accord and satisfaction is a contract, and all the essential elements of a contract must be present. The agreement must include a definite offer of settlement and an unconditional acceptance of the offer according to its terms. It must be final and definite, closing the matter it covers and leaving nothing unsettled or open to question. The agreement may call for full payment or some compromise and it need not be based on an earlier agreement of the parties. It does not necessarily have to be in writing unless it comes within the statute of frauds.

Unless there are matters intentionally left outside the accord and satisfaction, it settles the entire controversy between the parties. It extinguishes all the obligations arising out of the underlying contract or tort. Where only one of two or more parties on one side settles, this ordinarily operates to discharge all of them. The reason for this is the rule that there should be only one satisfaction for a single injury or wrong. This rule does not apply where the satisfaction is neither given nor accepted with the intention that it settle the entire matter.

An accord without satisfaction generally means nothing. With a full satisfaction, the accord can be used to defeat any further claims by either party unless it was reached by fraud, duress, or mutual mistake.

A valid accord does not discharge the prior contract, it suspends the right to enforce it in accordance with the terms of the accord contract, in which satisfaction, or performance of the contract will discharge both contracts (the original and the accord). If the creditor breaches the accord, then the debtor will be able to bring up the existence of the accord in order to enjoin any action against him.

The accord agreement must be transacted on a new agreement. It must therefore have the essential terms of a contract, (parties, subject matter, time for performance, and consideration). If there is a breach of the accord there will be no “satisfaction” which will give rise to a breach of accord. In this instance the non-offending party has the right to sue under either the original contract or the accord agreement.

A mere retaining of the money sent by the promisor does not imply satisfaction. Whether or not the money is taken in satisfaction is a question of fact to be determined keeping in view all the circumstances of the case. An award of damages for breach of a contract is not the same thing as a party to the contract accepting satisfaction of the contract other than in accordance with the original terms thereof.

ACCEPTANCE OF ANY SATISFACTION

According to the doctrine of accord and satisfaction, the promise may accept, instead of performance of the promise, such satisfaction as he thinks fit. But until the satisfaction agreed upon remains executory, the original cause of action is not discharged. But where the promise accepts the promise itself in satisfaction, the original cause of action is discharged.

In the case of Manohur Koyal v. Thakur Das Naskar [(1888) ILR 15 Cal 319], the defendant executed a bond of a certain sum of money in favour of the plaintiff, to be repaid on a certain date at eighteen percent per annum. If not paid on that date, the rate would be increased to twenty – four per cent per annum. The defendant came to the plaintiff on the day of repayment and expressed his inability to pay the said amount. Instead, he offered to pay Rs.400 cash and agreed to issue another bond in favour of the plaintiff to be paid at a much later date. The plaintiff accepted theses terms, but the defendant failed to carry them out. The plaintiff filed a suit for recovery of the original balance and the later promised amount from the defendant. The Court applied the principle of accord and satisfaction from section 63 of the Indian Contract Act and entitled the plaintiff to the entire sum demanded by him, stating that the reason was that the plaintiff had accepted the promise to carry out a different set of terms and conditions as the satisfaction for the later contract.

A contract between a debtor and a creditor that the debtor should sell and the creditor should accept any property in satisfaction for the debt, may operate in one of three ways, namely:

(i) the contract by itself may operate as an absolute discharge of the debt, giving the creditor thereafter only the remedy by way of the specific performance of the contract; or

(ii) it may operate only as a conditional discharge of the debt, giving the creditor in case of the debtor’s default, a right to claim either a performance of the contract or if he elects to put an end to it, the payment of the debt; or

(iii) the contract may be an independent transaction, in the sense that it does not affect the rights of the creditors or the obligations of the debtor till the sale is actually completed.

In which of these ways the contract is to have operation will depend upon the intention of the parties to be gathered in the absence of any express stipulation, from their conduct and the surrounding circumstances in the particular case.

It was held in the case of Sakarchand Shamji v. Ismail Hoosein [AIR 1931 Rang 189], that where on the breach of contract for sale, the buyer accepted a promissory note to reimburse loss on breach, and the receipt for one of the payments stated that the whole amount was not paid within a particular time, there was no agreement to revive the original cause of action.

In the case of Ram Swaroop Mam Chand v. Chhaju Ram & Sons. [(1937) 1 Cal 757], the Court held that before a party can be said to accept something other than the performance stipulated for in satisfaction of the contract, it should be open to him to refuse such satisfaction and to insist on the performance of the contract in accordance with its terms.

Thus, if any party instead of original satisfaction of a claim accepted another satisfaction, deemed fit by it, such unilateral acts were covered under section 63 of the Indian Contract Act.

ACCEPTANCE OF A LESSER SUM

Although the rule that the court does not enquire into the adequacy of the consideration is applicable in general, and therefore anything different in kind from what is due may be good satisfaction without regard to its apparent value, yet the court cannot help knowing that nineteen pounds is not equal to twenty pounds. Accordingly, a less sum of money cannot be good for a greater sum already due. This last rule was confirmed with great reluctance by the House of Lords in the case of Foakes v. Beer [[1881 – 85] All ER Rep 106].

However, in Indian law, neither consideration nor an agreement is necessary for enabling a promise to dispense with or remit the performance of the promise or accept any other satisfaction in place of the original satisfaction.

This is one of the most common manifestations of the doctrine of accord and satisfaction. Where there has been a true accord under which the creditor voluntarily agrees to accept a lesser sum in satisfaction and the debtor acts upon that accord by paying the lesser sum and the creditor accepts it, then it is inequitable for the creditor afterwards to insist on the balance.

The real emphasis is not on the acceptance of a smaller sum, but on the debtor’s condition that if the tendered money be at all accepted, it must be in discharge of the entire debt. A creditor accepting payment on a condition cannot accept the payment and repudiate the condition. Such accord and satisfaction are a question of fact, implying an agreement to take the money in satisfaction of the claim in respect of which it is sent; and preclude the creditor promise from claiming the amount under the original contract.

This was seen in the case of State of Maharashtra v. Nav Bharat Builders [(1994) SC 3 SCC 83], where in a mutual agreement pending a suit, a contactor agreed to receive on account of his claim, labour escalation charges, an amount calculated according to specified principles aand in order to withdraw the suit, there was accord and satisfaction after he had accepted the amount and withdrawn the suit.

The same principle was applied in the case of PK Ramaiah v. CMD, National Thermal Power Corpn. [(1994) Supp 3 SCC 126], in which when the creditor accepted the final measurements of the work completed and issued a receipt stating that the amount had been received in full and final settlement, there was accord and satisfaction and the creditor was not entitled to claim the balance.

Once any dispute is settled in this manner, no arbitral dispute remains, and the arbitration clause cannot be invoked.

If a cheque for a smaller amount than the debt due is sent to the creditor in full satisfaction, it does not discharge the debt if the latter does not accept it as such. It depends upon the intention of the parties as expressed in the correspondence and the character of the transaction.

For instance, in the case of Union of India v. Gangaram Bhagwandas [AIR 1977 MP 215], the railway sent a cheque for a smaller sum than the claim of the plaintiff in court in full and final satisfaction as settlement of the claim. The plaintiff encashed the cheque but continued his suit for the balance. The court held that the plaintiff had not accepted the cheque in full and final settlement as he continued the suit.

Similarly, in the case of Tata Locomotive & Eng. Co. Ltd. v. Sardar Kartar Singh [AIR 1961 Pat 37], a cheque for a smaller sum was sent to the creditor with the request that it be accepted in full payment, accompanied by a receipt to be signed by the creditor in full satisfaction. The cheque was cashed but no receipt was sent. On the contrary, before cashing the cheque a demand for the rest was made. The payment was held not to be in discharge of the entire debt.

Further, in respect of a works contract, if a contractor accepts the final bill, it would not mean that he was not entitled to make any claim. He was not precluded in law from raising the rest of his claim. The judgement is clearly right since under section 63 of the Indian Contract Act, there have to be accord as well as satisfaction to discharge the liability of the debtor.

The acceptance of a lesser sum of money where more is due, is a good discharge of the whole liability. The Supreme Court decision in Kapur Chand Godha v. Mir Nawab Himayatali Khan [(1963) 2 SCR 168] illustrates this. In this case, the liability was above twenty-seven lakhs of rupees. A Committee was formed to clear up the matter, which offered the creditor twenty lakhs in full satisfaction of the debt. The plaintiff after some initial protest expressed his readiness to accept the sum sent in full satisfaction of his claim and discharge the promissory note making endorsement of full satisfaction and received the payment. After the settlement, the creditor sued the debtor for the balance amount.

Justice S.K.Das held that “the facts of the case are completely covered by section 63 and illustration (c) thereof. The appellant having accepted the payment in full satisfaction of his claim was not entitled to sue”.

For this principle to lie, there must be proof that the a lesser sum has been accepted by the party not at fault.

FULL SATISFACTION AS THE ACCORD

It is the general rule that full satisfaction equals the accord. That is, after a party not at fault has accepted the satisfaction for an extension in the performance of the previous contract, the accord is complete and the other party cannot back out of the performance of his part of the contract so formed.

This rule has certain exceptions. If the party was made to enter into the contract despite protesting against it, the accord does not hold good. For instance, in the case of Union of India v. Gangaram Bhagwandas [AIR 1977 MP 215], the railway sent a cheque for a smaller sum than the claim of the plaintiff in court in full and final satisfaction as settlement of the claim. The plaintiff encashed the cheque but continued his suit for the balance. The court held that the plaintiff had not accepted the cheque in full and final settlement as he continued the suit and this was clearly a protest against the acceptance of the satisfaction.

Similarly, if the second party gave his assent to the accord under undue influence, mistaken belief or coercion, this rule is not applicable. Also, if the second party entered into the agreement for accord and satisfaction under the pressing circumstances, the doctrine does not apply, as in the case of Usman v. Union of India.

POSITION IN THE AMERICAN COMMON LAW

In the American common law, the term “accord and satisfaction” is used to express “the legal consequence of a creditor’s acceptance of a substitute performance for a previously existing claim or prior original duty.” As the conjunctive name implies, accord and satisfaction consists of two distinct parts. The “accord” of an accord and satisfaction is an agreement in which the creditor promises to accept the substitute performance for the pre-existing claim or duty. The “satisfaction” is the actual acceptance by the creditor of that substitute performance. Used together, these terms represent the legal consequence of accepting performance of the accord as satisfaction, the legal consequence being the discharge of the prior claim or duty.

There are three requirements for a valid discharge of an existing claim or duty by accord and satisfaction:

(1) existence of a claim or duty,

(2) offer and acceptance of a substitute performance in full settlement, and

(3) proper consideration.

The first requirement-existence of a prior claim or duty-is clearly met in the hypothetical. An existing claim or duty is required, because, without it, there is nothing for which to offer a

substitute performance.

For the second requirement to be met, the offer and acceptance must be for a substitute performance. In the common law, a substitute performance must be distinguished from a substitute contract. Though the two are very similar, the distinction between them for the purposes of accord and satisfaction is the timeline by which each discharges the prior existing claim or duty. A substitute contract discharges the prior duty at the moment the parties reach an agreement. A substitute performance does not discharge the existing duty until the performance is executed.

The last requirement for a valid accord and satisfaction to exist is that “new, valuable, and legal consideration” be present. Consideration is a bargained for performance or return promise. Therefore, for a promise to give, do, or not do, there must be a quid pro quo, something given, done, or not done in return. In the context of accord and satisfaction, courts have held that “the consideration is the resolution of the disputed claim”.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY

Although the principle of accord and satisfaction has been said to be similar to other forms of dispute settlement and often confused for being synonymous with compromise and settlement and some forms of arbitration, it can clearly be distinguished from them.

Accord and satisfaction is the purchase of the release from an obligation, whether arising under contract or tort by means of any valuable consideration not being the actual performance of the obligation itself. The accord is the agreement by which the obligation is discharged. The satisfaction is the consideration which makes the agreement operative.

An accord and satisfaction can be distinguished from other forms of resolving legal disputes. A payment or performance means that the original obligations were met.

A release is a formal relinquishment of the right to enforce the original obligations and not necessarily a compromise, as in accord and satisfaction.

An arbitration is a settlement of the dispute by some outside person whose determination of an award is voluntarily accepted by the parties.

A composition with creditors is very much like an accord but has elements not required for an accord and satisfaction. It is used only for disputes between a debtor and a certain number of his or her creditors, while an accord and satisfaction can be used to settle any kind of controversy-whether arising from contract or tort-and ordinarily involves only two parties.

Although distinctions have occasionally been drawn between an accord and satisfaction and a compromise and settlement, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

A novation is a kind of accord in which the promise alone, rather than full performance, is satisfaction, and is accepted as a binding resolution of the dispute.

CONCLUSION

The principle of accord and satisfaction implies that after a breach of contract has been made, the parties may enter into a subsequent contract by which the party not at fault may accept some other consideration other than the legal remedy.

This principle has also been described as only a method of discharge of a contract, as not annihilating the contract itself, but only making the obligation arising out of it unenforceable. The principle of accord and satisfaction is seen as a defense to legal action.

As per Chitty on Contracts,

‘It is a good defense to an action for the breach of any contract that the cause of action has been discharged by accord and satisfaction, that is to say, by an agreement after breach whereby some consideration other than his legal remedy is to be accepted by the party not in fault’.

An accord and satisfaction which secures a release from such an obligation is really based on the existence of the contract instead of treating it as non-existent. When an action is brought for non-performance an accord and satisfaction furnishes good defense. The defense is not that the contract has come to an end, but that its breach has been satisfied by accord and satisfaction, and therefore the plaintiff in the action is not entitled to the usual remedy for the breach.

Through accord and satisfaction, a lessee can agree to acceptance of a lesser amount by way of full satisfaction of all claims. But when the debtor paid still lesser amount, his liability could not come to an end. In such a case, there would be no accord even though the creditor had accepted the said amount.

Source by Raabia Abuzer Shams

7 Key Improvements Being Made to Drone Technology

Ever since drone technology has been introduced in the market, it has captured the imagination of people belonging to different sectors. From the armed forces to the real estate businesses to sports, drones have found applications almost every sector. However, even with the amazing success of drones, people have identified the need for continual improvement if these aerial vehicles are to realize their true potential. This is the reason why scientists and tech experts all over the world are trying to make improvements and upgrades to the existing drone technology to iron out its flaws. The following are some of the areas of the drones in which improvements are being made.

Battery Life

One of the biggest challenges faced by the people when using drones is that of its limited battery life. The drones that are currently available cannot remain airborne for more than half an hour as their batteries don’t hold that much power. This is one of the aspects of drones in which a lot of progress is being made. Scientists are trying to come up with more powerful batteries that can keep the drones in the air for a longer period of time. Moreover, tech experts are also exploring the possibility of using solar energy for powering the drones too. It is expected that in the very near future the battery life of drones will be considerably increased, allowing them to fly long distances without requiring a recharge.

Collision Avoidance

Safety has always remained one of the most talked about aspects of the drone technology. There is the risk that the drone would collide with the objects that come in its path like power lines, trees and other aircraft. To combat this risk and to increase the safety of the drones, scientists are working on a collision avoidance system for the drones. The idea behind this is that the drones will be fitted with a system that would be able to detect the presence of other objects in their path and take evasive maneuvers to avoid collision. Although such a system hasn’t been developed yet, research is ongoing and the chances of a breakthrough happening are quite bright.

Autopilot

The drones that are available in the market at the moment need to be controlled to some extent from the ground. You must have to pilot the drone remotely and tell it where it needs to go. This means that drones can only be operated by someone who has the necessary training and certifications required to fly a drone. However, this is about to change. Tech experts are working on the autopilot of the drones so that they can fly autonomously without requiring a human pilot. With this autopilot feature, people who have absolutely no idea about flying drones would be able to use them too.

Navigation

Navigation is another area of the drone technology that is seeing a great deal of improvement these days. For now, GPS is being used for the purpose of navigating the drones but there are several flaws with this strategy. GPS isn’t reliable in crowded environments like forests and cities with large buildings. The signals of the GPS can get lost in such places which can adversely affect the flight pattern of the drone. To avoid such an issue, scientists are working on backup navigation systems that can take over if the GPS stops working for some reason. These supplemental navigation systems would greatly help in ensuring that the drones get to complete their missions even if something goes wrong.

Control Systems

Control systems are pivotal to the success of drones. These systems are used for the purpose of controlling different aspects of the drone while it is flying like interference, power conditions, acceleration, moisture and temperature ranges. Without these control systems, the drone would go rogue and it would be impossible to control its movements. Improvements being made to the control metrics are focused on their security. Tech experts are trying to ensure that the control systems are resistant to malware and can’t be hacked easily. In addition to this, new and improved control systems are being developed that provide on-ground pilots a greater degree of control over the drone’s movements.

Communication Systems

As is the case with any other aircraft, communication systems are extremely important for drones. They are used by the ground staff to communicate with the drone and to provide necessary instructions to it. The communication system needs to be fault free and resistant to errors as it is the only means for remaining in touch with the drone. Similar to the control systems, the communication systems aboard a drone need to be firewalled too so that they cannot be hijacked. Drone innovators are working tirelessly on improving the security aspect of the UAV’s communication systems so that they can’t be taken over and remain functional even in the most unfavorable conditions.

Data Processing

Drones are usually used for the purpose of obtaining data. Whether it is in the form of pictures or any other format, it needs to be processed before it can be put to any use. There are a number of software programs available that can process the data being transmitted by the drones on a real-time basis. However, the software programs that are currently in use can’t handle large amounts of data and thus require a lot of processing time. To reduce the time needed for data processing, new and improved software applications are being developed that can process the data obtained by drones in a much quicker manner.

So, as you can see, there are a number of improvements that are being to the drone technology. Tech experts and scientists are joining forces to find out ways through which they can enhance the capabilities of the drones and to make them as safe as possible. If this rate advancement and improvement continues then it can be expected that within a few years time, we will have a number of drones flying around over our heads.

Source by Victor Holman

Introduction to Digital Cartography and Mapping Tools

Traditional maps display a geographical environment on a scale in statically, while digital cartography took the job forward by creating maps using computers that boasted of many additional interactive features such as rollover information box, zooming and clickable icons with hyperlinks.

Though the use of compass and other advanced magnetic storage devices allowed people to create more accurate maps, store and manipulate them digitally in the early days of map making, it was only in the 20th century that advanced electronic technology brought a revolution in digital cartography and computer mapping tools.

The ready availability of computer peripherals like monitors, printers, scanners, analytic stereo plotters, accessibility of computer programs for database management, correct image visualization and processing, as well as proper spatial analysis had made the entire process of map making much easier. Maps to address the needs of new industries were possible with such technology by placing spatially located variables on the existing maps to create newer ones with enhanced features and potentials.

With time, digital cartography has taken strides to become better, thereby offering modern businesses a lot of benefits as follows:

* Help visitors find your branch office locations: You can easily embed interactive online maps in your website that would help your customers to know about store locations all over the world, and help them reach any particular store with ease.

* Easy marketing in trade shows: If you are participating in a trade show, you can use digital cartography to help your potential clients locate your booth in the trade show or to guide them to the venue via an interactive street image.

* Using interactive image maps for offline use: You can easily make your offline multimedia presentations on the intranet or CDROM more engaging and interesting by using interactive image maps. Some map software even allow you to export interactive maps to JPG that you may use for your PowerPoint presentations.

* Make the maps more informative and interactive: With digital cartography at hand, you can add labels, logos and icons to specific points, show routes with curves or lines, and add text descriptions in tool tip or info boxes. All these elements make the maps more easy to follow and interactive in nature.

* Other user-friendly elements of digital cartography: Elements like map legends, map chart and zoom function in digital maps make them a preferred choice over traditional paper maps.

* Floor plans for real estate dealers: For those in the real estate business, interactive maps for floor plans of a building or mouse over boxes showing information related to homes for sale and their prices can serve a lot.

* Benefits for tourism industry: People looking to book their vacations often search for information like the best deals, the easiest route to reach a destination, any specials and discounts on offer, cheap air fares etc. Using digital cartography, you can show all these information via various interactive features, thereby making it easier for travelers to get the required data at a glance.

* Advantages for colleges and universities: Showing campus details and sharing information about various courses and their venues becomes easy with digital maps. That’s how educational institutions can benefit a lot from the use of digital cartography.

No wonder that digital maps serve as useful guides for conveying multi-faceted information through various interactive features, which in turn make them a preferred choice over their traditional counterparts.

Source by Ko Fai Godfrey Ko

The History, Present and Future of Aerial Photography in India and The Rest of The World

Aerial Photography refers to capturing shots with the help of an airborne camera. A sea change has been witnessed in the field of Aerial Photography during the course of over 14 decades of its glorious history. Back in 1858, a French photographer named Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, for the very first time, succeeded in carrying out a session of Aerial Photography with the help of a hot air balloon tethered at the height of 80 meters. Unfortunately, none of those priceless shots has survived to this day. Two years later, in 1860, Samuel Archer King and Wallace Black captured Boston from a height of 630 meters. Fortunately, this aerial photo has survived, and it now goes by the name of Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.

Initially, Aerial Photography was carried out with the help of pigeons, kites rockets and balloons. In 1897, Alfred Nobel became the first human being in the world to succeed in capturing an aerial photo with the help of a rocket-mounted camera. Nine years later, in 1906, George Lawrence captured San Francisco before and after the infamous earthquake. Lawrence succeeded in carrying out this session of Aerial Photography with the help of a 49-pound camera mounted to the height of 2000 feet with the help of a train of as many as nine kites. L.P. Bonvillan, in 1908, captured the very first aerial photo from an airplane. During the first World War, detailed maps were prepared with the help of Aerial Photography.

Fortunately, the professionals did not take a long time in making pigeons obsolete in this regard, but the use of kites and balloons for mounting the camera to the desired height continued, and a few professionals still use it for the same purpose. However, manned planes and drones, these days, are the most popular carriers of aerial cameras.

Drones are preferred by most of the professionals over their manned counterparts owing to the ability of the former to capture equally good shots without involving a whopping amount of money.

The lighting conditions in the area that needs to be captured with the help of a drone should be perfect. In this context, ‘perfect’ refers to reasonable light. Contrary to popular belief, too much of sunshine isn’t healthy for drone photography. According to most of the professionals, the best time for carrying out Drone Photography is just before the sunset. The quality of the concerned lens should be superlative since it invariably plays a vital role in deciding the fate of each and every aerial shot. It is highly recommended to refrain from using drones for photography on days when it’s raining, snowing or windy out there no matter how advanced the concerned drone may be since the results will, almost always, be disappointing.

Drones are popular not only popular because of the reasonable cost involved with them but also because of their versatility. The duration for which a drone can stay airborne varies from model to model, and a drone either comes bundled with or without a built-in camera. So, coming across a drone that fits the bill no matter how specific the need may be is always easy.

The use of gimbals in drone photography is recommended since they enable the drone-mounted camera to capture stable footage. These days, there is no dearth of drones that can capture footage in 4K and this is one of the reasons why the concerned shots are detailed in nature.

These days, filmmakers in all parts of the world have started to use drones for capturing stunning footage that looks great on the big screen. So, the reliance on land-based cameras has now started to witness a decline in filmmaking that isn’t drastic, but reasonable won’t be an inappropriate word to use for the same. Such a decline is also being witnessed in many other fields.

One of the most important applications of Aerial Photography is in the field of Disaster Management. Drones can easily capture clear footage of any area that is difficult to access via foot. The same drones also facilitate the rescue operations by capturing the areas that are severely hit by natural disasters like earthquake and flood. Drones, these days, are also being used for monitoring the construction of any illegal structure to ensure that they can be demolished as soon as possible.

Most of the builders in all parts of the world have started to use drones for coming across the most conducive sites for carrying out the intended construction.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in any part of the world, you need to comply with the guidelines laid down by the concerned authority and India is no exception to this fact.

The most important guidelines laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for carrying out Aerial Photography in India are as follows:

1: A drone flying in India needs to stay in the Visual Line of Sight.

2: Drones in India are prohibited from flying in controlled airspace.

3: It is mandatory for all the operators in India who want to fly a drone at/above 200 feet above ground level in the uncontrolled airspace to have an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit issued by DGCA.

4: A drone flying in India should have a Unique Identification Number issued by DGCA.

Visit the official website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to make yourself aware of all the concerned guidelines in detail.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in Australia, the operators need to have a certificate as well as a license issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In Australia, drones that weigh under 2 kilogramme can be used for commercial reasons.

In the United States of America, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows the operators who are licensed pilots to fly a drone. The operators should always keep the drone in the Visual Line of sight and ensure that everyone in America stays unharmed with such operations. Visit the official website of the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire the awareness of the detailed guidelines.

The United Kingdom is considering to come up with reasonable laws for the individuals who wish to carry out Aerial Photography, but as of now, there are just a few guidelines that need to be complied with for carrying out the same. Currently, anyone in the UK can buy and fly a drone that weighs less than 20 Kilogramme. The drone should always be in the Visual Line of Sight that refers to the height of 400 meters. For flying a drone beyond the 400-metre mark, the operators need to have the formal permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. The drone should maintain a distance of at least 150 meters from any area that is flooded with people. A drone in the UK can’t be used for commercial purposes. Visit the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In Ireland, the operators need to register all the drones weighing over 1 Kg with the Irish Aviation Authority. While flying, all the drones in Ireland should always maintain a distance of at least 5 Kilometres from each and every aerodrome. A drone is prohibited from flying in a civil airspace or an airspace controlled by the military. Visit the official website of the Irish Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In India, Aerial Photography doesn’t date back to many years in the past, and therefore, it isn’t as popular as it is in a few other parts of the world, but the awareness of this acclaimed method of capturing shots is now spreading at a gradual pace. A considerable number of Indians have now realised that Aerial Photography is better than its land-based counterpart in many ways and this is the reason why they are now more interested in the former than the latter.

Aerial Photography is playing an important role in the growth of India’s tourism sector by tempting millions of people across the globe to pay a visit to a large number of monuments, shrines and many other tourist destinations in India at least once. The growth of India’s real estate sector also owes a lot to the impressive shots captured through drone-mounted cameras since they have proved to be successful in encouraging the potential buyers towards the piece of land that has been put on sale.

An impressive number of business houses across India have now started to use the aerial footage for advertising their products and services, and they are happy with the results.

Aerial Photography in India is expected to witness a surge in the number of takers in the future because the number of service providers in the concerned field is increasing and consequently, the cost of availing Aerial Photography services is expected to come down to the point when most of the Indians will call it affordable. Currently, despite being interested, a lot of Indians can’t afford to opt for Aerial Photography.

Source by Eshan Sahai

8 Tips for Buying Your Drone

Businesses and consumers alike are finding new ways to use drone every day. From real estate to event photography to sports, drones are being used for a number of purposes. On top of that, people are finding drones to be a great past time activity too. This is the reason why there has been a spike in the demand of the drones and people all over the world are looking to buy one. However, buying a drone isn’t a piece of cake. There are a number of aspects that you need to keep in mind before you go into the market to buy one. The following are some tips that are going to help you in buying a drone that is fit for your needs. The following areas should be examined prior to purchasing a drone.

Purpose of Use

The first tip for buying a drone is to identify the purpose for which you want this vehicle. For instance, if you are looking to get this device for purely recreational purposes then even a small and cheap quadcopter would be enough. However, if you want to buy the drone for professional aerial photography and videography then you will have to go for a more advanced model that is capable of capturing photos at different angles. For cargo carrying requirements, you will require a drone that is capable of lifting heavy loads and carrying them over long distance. If you plan on buying the drone for inspection purposes then it would be best for you to opt for a drone that can function in unfavorable conditions. Drones used for wildlife photography are usually quite expensive and should only be bought if you are a wildlife photographer who wants to capture the wild animals in their natural habitat without risking yourself.

Machinery

Another of the aspect that needs to be considered when it comes to buying drones is that of its machinery. There are various types of drones available in the market but they have their own respective mechanisms. You have to understand that not all drones have the machinery available to perform the functions that you want them to do. For instance, if you want to get the drone simply for the fun then a quadcopter with simple machinery would be just fine. However, if you plan on using the drone for a commercial purpose then the quadcopter would not be enough. You will then have to go for a drone whose machinery is capable enough to complete the task be it photography or package delivery.

Design

Another tip that might come in handy when you are buying a drone is to have a close look at its design. Generally all the UAVs have the same basic idea; they fly without the need of an on-board human pilot. However, they differ on the basis of their design. For instance, the quadcopter has four motors to propel it and look almost like a helicopter while the military grade drones are jet fueled and look more or less the same as usual airplanes. So, unless you are in the military and are in need of a stealth drone, it would be best for you to go for a drone that has a simple design.

Camera and Gimbal Supports

Drones are mostly being used for the purpose of photography and videography. If you want to use yours for the same purpose then you will have to find one that has a camera installed on it. However, an ordinary camera won’t do the job. You would have to make sure that the camera mounted on the drone you are buying is a good one that can take high quality pictures with ease. Another tip to keep in mind is to buy drone that has a gimbal support. The gimbal support is going to keep the camera stable during the drone’s flight, allowing it to take better photos and videos.

Battery Time

Battery timing is of great importance too when it comes to buying UAVs. Generally, a quadcopter or drone will fly for around 5 to 15 minutes at a stretch. With a bigger battery, the drone can stay airborne for more than an hour. So, it is best that you go for a drone that has a powerful battery especially if you want to use it for aerial photography or inspection purposes. Make sure that the battery of the drone is rechargeable and can be quickly powered up.

Range

The range of most of the drones is not more than 50 meters. This is generally a suitable distance for taking aerial shots. However, there are advanced drones available too that have a much higher range. If you want the drone for wildlife photography, then it is best that you go for one that can provide you with a range close to 100 meters or more.

Spare Parts

Always ask the dealer to provide you with spare parts for your drone. Most of the drones available in the market come with spare rotors as these parts of the drone are fragile and can breakdown if consistently used.

Cost

The price of the drones is dependent on their type. If you want to buy the most basic model then you won’t have to spend a great deal of money on them. Still, it would be a considerable investment as these aerial vehicles don’t come cheap. You can get the drone for a lower price if you look for them on the internet. There are many websites that provide discounts on the sale of quadcopters.

In closing, there are a number of aspects that you need to keep in mind before you go into the market to buy drone. If you take these considerations in mind you will get the most out of your investment.

Source by Victor Holman