Damnum Sine injuria & Injuria Sine Damnum by Sesa Gill at LexCliq

Introduction

The law of torts is a collection of all the circumstances in which court gives a remedy by way of damages, for legally unjustified harm or injury done by one to another person. There are three elements which need to be proved before constituting a tort: –

  1. There must be an act or omission on the part of the defendant.
  2. That act or omission should be in violation of a legal right vested in the plaintiff.
  3. The wrongful act or omission thus done by the defendant is of such a nature to give rise to a legal remedy.

Both the maxims are divided into three parts as follows: –

  • Damnum means substantial harm, loss, or damage with respect to the money, health, etc.
  • Injuria means an infringement of a right given by the law to the plaintiff.
  • Sine means without.

Damnum Sine Injuria

Damnum sine Injuria is a legal maxim which refers to as damages without injury or damages in which there is no infringement of any legal right which are vested with the plaintiff. The general principle on which this maxim is based upon is that if one exercises his common or ordinary rights, within reasonable limits, and without infringing other’s legal right; such an exercise does not give rise to an action in tort in favour of that other person. Damages can be in any form either in the form of any substantial harm or loss suffered from respect to the money, comfort, health, etc.

  • In another case of Gloucester Grammar School (1410)in which a schoolmaster, set-up a rival school to that of the plaintiff and since because of the competition the plaintiff had to reduce their fees from 40 pence to 12 pence per quarter. Thus, claimed for compensation from the defendants for the losses suffered. It was held that the plaintiff had no remedy for the losses suffered, since the act though morally wrong has not violated any legal right of the plaintiff.
  • The court presumes in cases where the legal right has been infringed that damages have to be awarded, but in cases where no legal right has been infringed, the maxim Damnum sine Injuria applies & no remedies are available for the same. So, it can be rightly said that an act which is lawfully or legally done, without negligence, & in the exercise of a legal right, such damages as comes to another thereby is damage without injury.

Injuria Sine Damnum

  • Injuria sine damnum is a violation of a legal right without causing any harm, loss, or damage to the plaintiff and whenever any legal right is infringed, the person in whom the right is vested is entitled to bring an action. Every person has an absolute right to his property, to the immunity of his person, and to his liberty & infringement of this right is actionable per seA person against whom the legal right has been infringed has a cause of action such that even a violation of any legal right knowingly brings the cause of action. The law even gives the liberty that if a person merely has a threat of infringement of a legal right even without the injury being completed, the person whose right has been threatened can bring a suit under the provisions of Specific Relief Actunder Declaration and injunction.
  • For Example: – If a person is wrongfully detained against his will, he will have a claim for substantial damages for wrongful imprisonment even if no consequential loss was suffered upon the detention.
  • In Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu & Kashmir, the petitioner was MLA of Jammu and Kashmir parliamentary assembly. While he was on his way to attend the parliamentary session, he was wrongfully arrested by a police officer and he was restrained from attending the parliamentary session. He was not presented before the magistrate in time and he had a legal right to attend the meeting. His fundamental right under Article 21of the Constitution was also violated. At last Supreme Court held that the defendants were responsible and awarded Rs.50,000 as compensation to the petitioner for the infringement of his fundamental right.[1]

So in total, the maxim Injuria Sine Damno refers to the remedies which are provided in the form of damages or compensation in violation of any legal right such that if the legal right is violated then action lies even if there is no harm to another. In other words, it is an infringement  of a right where no loss is suffered but it creates a cause of action.

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