A Delegate cannot further Delegate. Elaborate the Statement to describe the Relationship between a Principal and a Sub-agent.
Agency is a personal relationship based on mutual trust and confidence between the principal and the agent. Section 190 provides that an agent cannot lawfully employ another to perform acts which he has expressly or impliedly undertaken to perform. Thus, an agent cannot delegate his powers to a third person. The maxim applicable in this case is delegates non protest delegate: This means that a person to whom authority has been delegated cannot delegate that authority to another. The reason for this rule is that confidence in. a particular person is at the root of the contract of agency. Therefore, the agent should perform his responsibilities himself. In other words the appointment of sub -agent by agent, is not allowed by law.
Section 191 gives the definition of sub-agent in these words: A sub-agent is a person employed by and acting under the control of the original agent in the business of the agendy: So sub-agent is the agent of the original agent. As between themselves, the relation of sub-agent and original agent is that of agent and principal.
But to this general rule there are certain exceptions, where the agent is permitted to delegate his authority. He may appoint sub-agents. In the following cases:
- Where the principal has expressly allowed his agent to appoint sub-agent. His consent may. also be implied from the circumstances.
- Where the nature of work demands that a sub-agent should be appointed.
- Where there is a custom of trade to that effect.
- Acts which are of routine nature and can be done by the agent or delegated by him.
- Where in the course of agent’s appointment, unforeseen emergencies arise which render A necessary to delegate his authority.
- Where the principal knows that the agent intends to appoint a sub-agent.
Consequences of Appointing sub-agent. The legal relation between the principal and the sub -agent depends upon whether the appointment of the sub-agent is proper or improper.
In case of proper appointment. Where the sub-agent is properly appointed, the following consequences emerge as per Section 192:
- As regards third person, the principal is represented by sub-agent. He is bound by and is responsible for all the acts of sub-agent.
- The agent is responsible to the principal for the acts of the Sub-agent. There is no privity of contract between the principal and the sub-agent and therefore he cannot sue the sub-agent.
- The sub-agent is not directly responsible to the principal, except for fraud and wilful wrong. The sub-agent is responsible to the agent.
In Calico Printer’s Association vs. Barclay’s Bank , a sub-agent failed to insure goods belonging to principal which were destroyed by fire. But the principal could not recover against the sub-agent. A sub-agent is, however, bound by all the duties of an ordinary agent.
In case of improper appointment. The following consequences arise as per Section 193 when the appointment of sub-agent is improper :
- The principal is not represented by such sub-agent and so he is not liable for any of the acts of sub-agent.
- The agent is responsible to his principal as well as to third party for the acts of his sub-agent.
- The sub-agent is not responsible to the principal at all. He will be answerable only to the agent.
It may be mentioned that the principal may take suitable action against his agent for wrongfully appointing a sub-agent.