A person, who find goods belonging to another and takes them into his custody, is subject to the responsibility of taking due care of them and trying to find out the real owner of the goods. It is also to be remembered that the finder has a good title over the things found and that his right is enforceable against all except the real owner.
In the words of section 71 “A person who finds goods belonging to another and takes them into his custody, is subject to the same responsibility as a bailee”.
It is true that a person who comes by an article is not obliged to take charge of it, but if he does pick it up, he becomes a bailee.
Rights of finder of goods
Right to receive compensation
The finder of goods has right to recover compensation for the trouble and expenses incurred in preserving.
Right of lien
He can exercise his right of lien and may retain the goods until he receive the expenses incurred in preserving the property or for finding out the true owner.
Right to Sue
He can file a suit against the owner for any reward that might have been offered to give him.
Right of legal Action
The finder may take necessary legal action against third party who wrongfully deprives him of the possession of the goods.
Right of Selling
The finder has a right to sell the thing of another found by him under the circumstances given below. (See 169)
- The thing found is commonly the subject of sale.
- The owner cannot be found with reasonable diligence.
- The owner refuses to pay the lawful charges.
- The thing is in danger of perishing or losing the greater part of its value or the lawful charges amount to two-thirds of its value.
Duties of Finder of Goods
Finding out the real owner
It is the duty of the finder of the goods to make possible effort in order to find out the real owner of the goods. He may retain such goods until he finds true owner by advertisement in case of costly thing.
Care to be taken by the finder
The finder is bound to take as much care of the goods lost as a man of ordinary prudence would under similar circumstances take of his own goods of the same bulk, quality and value as the goods lost.
Returning of goods
It is the duty of finder to return the lost goods to real owner when he receives reasonable compensation for his services he has rendered in respect of them.