Lien is the right of any person to retain possession of goods belonging to someone else until the charge due to the person in possession is paid lien. Lien may arise by statute, contract by general course of dealing in particular trade where it is claimed. The right to lien is the right to detain goods belonging to another, by a person in possession, until the sum claimed or other demand of the person in possession is satisfied. In other words, the possession of goods is necessary to claim the right to lien. Also that such possession must not be unlawful, that it should be rightful and continuous and not for a particular purpose.
A lien can either be particular lien or general lien. Particular lien is a lien which can be exercised only on goods in respect of-which some payment is due. According to Section 170, where the bailee, in accordance with the purpose of the bailment has rendered any service which involves the exercises of the labor or skill in respect of the goods bailed, and where there is no contract to the contrary, has a right to retain such goods till the time he is paid the due remuneration for the services rendered by him. Also, the fact that, a bailee is entitled to detain only that particular property in respect of charges is due.
- (A gives cloth to B, a tailor, to make into a coat. B promises A to deliver the coat as soon as it is finished, and to give a three months credit for the price. B is not entitled to retain the coat.
- A delivers a rough diamond to B, a jeweler, to be cut and polished, which is accordingly done. B is entitled to retain the stone till he is paid for the services he has rendered.
According to Section 171 of the Indian Contract Act, general lien on the other hand, means the right to hold the goods bailed as security for a general balance of account. The right of general lien entitles the bailee to detain any goods bailed by him for any amount due to him whether in respect of those goods or some other goods. It is treated as a privilege and is specially conferred on certain kinds of bailee’s only under Section 171, like the bankers, factors, wharfingers, attorneys of a high court, and policy brokers.