Malicious prosecution is the malicious institution of unsuccessful criminal or bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings against another without reasonable or probable cause. This tort balances competing principles, namely freedom that every person should have in bringing criminals to justice and the need for restraining false accusations against innocent persons. Malicious prosecution is an abuse of the process of the court by wrongfully setting the law in motion on a criminal charge. The foundation lies in the triangular abuse of the court process of the court by wrongfully setting the law in motion and it is designed to encourage the perversion of the machinery of justice for a proper cause the tort of malicious position provides redress for those who are prosecuted without cause and with malice. In order to succeed the plaintiff must prove that there was a prosecution without reasonable and just cause, initiated by malice and the case was resolved in the plaintiff’s favor. It is necessary to prove that damage was suffered as a result of the prosecution.
Elements of malicious prosecution
1. Institution or continuation of Legal proceedings
2. Termination of the prosecution in the plaintiff’s favour
3. Absence of reasonable and probable cause
Malicious Civil Proceeding
An action will not lie for maliciously and without reasonable and propable cause instituting suit the reason stated to be is that such a case dose not necessarily and naturally involve damage to the party sued. The civil action which is false will be dismissed at the hearing. The defendant’s reputation will be cleared against all imputations made against him and he will be awarded costs against the opponent. The law dose not award damage for mental anxiety, or extra costs incurred beyond those imposed on unsuccessful parties.
Vishweshwar Shankarrao Deshmukh and Anr v. Narayan Vithoba Patil
Facts of the case
The plaintiff was the sarpanch of the village Shirputi in the year 1980 and the defendant no. 1 was in the service as a Gram sewak under the Zila Parishad and the defendant no.2 was a teacher in a school run by the Zila Parishad. The plaintiff contended that he made several reports against the defendants for their misconduct. The report was made against defendant no.1 for his misbehavior, defalcation and forgery of accounts and also against defendant no.2 for his absence from duties and other irregularities. It is contended that both the defendants then hatched a conspiracy to involve the plaintiff in a criminal conspiracy and such that the defendant no.1 had lodged an F.I.R. with the police that was assaulted by the plaintiff while he was discharging his duties. On the basis of the F.I.R and investigation done by the police, criminal proceedings were launched against the plaintiff.. The plaintiff was acquitted of the charges against him. It is contended that on the basis of the F.I.R. lodged by the defendant no.1 , plaintiff was arrested bt the police and the criminal proceeding against him was with malicious intention on the part of the defendants. The prosecution was launched without any reasonable cause and due to the false prosecution, there was a loss to his prestige and reputation and his status was lowered down in the society being a sarpanch and a politician.
The court decided that the plaintiff was maliciously prosecuted by the defendants without any reasonable and propable cause , and therefore they are liable to pay damages worth Rs 12,500.00 to the plaintiff
Malicious prosecution is an abuse of the process of the court by wrongfully setting the law in motion on a criminal charge. In order to succeed the plaintiff must prove that there was a prosecution without any just and reasonable cause, initiated by malice and the case was decided in the plaintiff’s favour. It is necessary to prove that damages were incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the prosecution. The burden of proof rests on him. He has to prove the existence of malice.