What are the exceptions to the rule of strict liability? Briefly examine each of them.
The rule of strict liability, which was laid down in Rylands v Fletcher, makes the defendant liable for accidental harms caused without any intention or negligence. In other words, the law sometimes recognizes no-fault liability. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. These are as follows. Firstly, no action can be maintained through injury brought about by the plaintiff's fault i.e. a willful and intentional act of the party complaining. In Ponting v Noakes, wherein the plaintiff's horse died due to poisonous leaves ingested on the defendant's property, it was held that the defendant is not liable as the damage occurred due to the horse's intrusion. Secondly, vis Major i.e. Act of God. This defense can be pleaded if the 'escape of a dangerous object' was unforeseen and due to supernatural forces. Further, it took place without any human intervention. An illustration is provided in Nichols v Marsland wherein it was held that if the embankments of ornamental lakes give way due to extraordinary rainfall, the person collecting the water would not be liable. Thirdly, if the harm has been caused due to the act of a third party or stranger, the defendant is not liable. In Box v Jubb, the defendant was held not guilty when his reservoir was caused to overflow by a third party sending a great quantity of water down the drain which supplied it. Fourthly, volenti non-fit injuria i,e, consent of the plaintiff is a valid defense. Lastly, no action will lie for doing that which the legislature has authorized. It must be noted that this defense is only available when the activities authorized by statutory authority has been done without negligence. In Green v Chelsea Waterworks Co, when water stored for the purpose of the city escaped, it was held that where the accumulation of water by the defendants is not for their own purpose and has further been authorized by statute, they will not be held liable.
Why did Communism survive in China even as it failed in USSR?
The Chinese model of communism was greatly inspired by Russian communism in the initial years. However, the two models diverged when Mao took the helm in China. The root of the different fates of Chinese and Russian communism lies in this. In light of this, the major factors are as follows. Firstly, China under Deng Xiaoping implemented economic reforms before going for political reforms. Economic prosperity pacified the people's demands for political freedom. On the other hand, Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to introduce both political and economic reforms simultaneously, as seen in his Glasnost and Perestroika initiatives. The people then blamed the poor economy on the political system of USSR and this contributed to its disintegration. Secondly, the Left-Right split within the Chinese Communist Party never deepened to a critical level while this divide was very strong in Russia. Boris Yeltsin openly criticised the socialist policies of the party in the last years of USSR. Thirdly, the differences between Xiaoping and Gorbachev were significant. Xiaoping executed his policies from 1976 onwards while Gorbachev only came to power in 1985. Further, Xiaoping was willing to use force to preserve the one-party system, as demonstrated in the Tiananmen Square incident. On the other hand, Gorbachev was not willing to use force and he was sympathetic to the demands for autonomy from the Soviet Republics. Fourthly, China was a more ethnically and culturally homogenous society than USSR. Thus, there were a larger number of demands for secession in USSR. Fifthly, the 100 Flowers Campaign acted as an early warning for Chinese leaders and Mao took timely corrective measures in the form of the Great Leap Forward. A similar development did not take place under Russian leaders like Stalin and Khrushchev. Lastly, Russia was much more involved in the Cold War and this hurts its economy. Thus, a combination of factors led to the fall of communism and the disintegration of USSR, even as Chinese communism is still going strong.
Discontent had simmered in Russia long before the 1917 Revolution. However, there was no revolution before 1917. In this context, examine why the non-fulfillment of the October Manifesto (1905) did not immediately lead to a revolution.
The October Manifesto is the name given to concessions made by the Tsar in the aftermath of public unrest in 1905. The failure to fulfill the promises enumerated in the Manifesto did not lead to an immediate revolution for the following reasons. Firstly, the economic recovery after 1906 pacified the peasants and workers. Secondly, the leaders who opposed the Tsar were short of money. Further, many of them were either in prison or in exile. For example, Lenin was in exile at the time and only returned to Russia in 1917. Thirdly, Prime Minister Stolypin introduced some reforms, such as abolishing redemption payments and encouraging peasants to migrate to Siberia so that they could buy cheap land and cultivate it. Lastly, there was disunity among the Opposition. The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks differed on various central issues. For example, the Bolsheviks under Lenin wanted a revolution with the support of both workers and peasants while the Mensheviks wished to wait until the Russian economy was industrialized and workers formed the majority of the population. These issues led to the lack of an effective front to oppose the Tsar. Thus, there was no revolution immediately after the non-fulfillment of promises given in the October Manifesto.