Nuisance as a Tort

Introduction

A person in possession of a property is entitled to its undisturbed enjoyment as per law. However, if someone else’s improper use or enjoyment in his property ends up resulting into an unlawful interference with his enjoyment or use of that property or of some of the rights over it, or in connection with it, we can say that the tort of nuisance has occurred.

The word “nuisance” has been derived from the Old French word “nuire” which means “to cause harm, or to hurt, or to annoy”. The Latin word for nuisance is “nocere” which means “to cause harm”.

Nuisance is an injury to the right of a person’s possession of his property to undisturbed enjoyment of it and results from an improper usage by another individual.

Essential elements of Nuisance

Wrongful act

Any act which is done with the intention to cause the infringement of the legal rights of another is considered to be a wrongful act.

Damagew or loss or annoyance caused to another individual.

Damage or loss or annoyance must be such which the law should consider as a substantial material for the claim.

Types of Nuisance

Public Nuisance

The Indian Penal code defines nuisance as an act which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance, to the people in general who dwell or occupy the property, in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to the people who may have occasion to use any public right.

Public nuisance affects the society and the people living in it at large, or some considerable portion of the society and it affects the rights which the members of the society might enjoy over the property. The acts which seriously affects or interferes with the health, safety or comfort of the general public is a public nuisance.

Private Nuisance

Private Nuisance is that kind of nuisance in which a person’s use or enjoyment of his property is ruined by another. It may also injuriously affect the owner of the property by physically injuring his property or by affecting the enjoyment of the property. Unlike public nuisance, in private nuisance, an individual’s usage or enjoyment of property is ruined as distinguished from the public or society at large. The remedy for private nuisance is a civil action for damages or an injunction or both.

Case Law: Radhey Shyam v. Gur Prasad AIR 1978 All 86

Mr Gur Prasad Saxena and another filed a suit against Mr Radhey Shyam and five other individuals for permanent injunction restraining the defendant from installing and running a flour mill in the premises occupied by the defendant. Gur Prasad Saxena filed another suit against Radhey Shyam and five other individuals for a permanent injunction from running and continuing to run an oil expeller plant. The plaintiff has alleged that the mill was causing a lot of noise which in turn was affecting the health of the plaintiff. It was held that by running a flour mill in a residential area, the defendant was causing a nuisance to the plaintiff and affecting his health severely.

Remedies for nuisance

1. Injunction

An injunction is a judicial order restraining a person from doing or continuing an act which might be threatening or invading the legal rights of another. It may be in the form of a temporary injunction which is granted on for a limited period of time which may get reversed or confirmed. If it is confirmed, then it takes the form of a permanent injunction.

2. Damages

The damages may be offered in terms of compensation to the aggrieved party, these could be nominal damages. The damages to be paid to the aggrieved party is decided by the statue and the purpose of the damages is not just compensating the individual who has suffered but also making the defendant realise his mistakes and deter him from repeating the same wrong done by him.

3. Abatement

Abatement of nuisance means the removal of a nuisance by the party who has suffered, without any legal proceedings. This kind of remedy is not favoured by the law. But is available under certain circumstances.

Conclusion

The concept of nuisance arises commonly in everyone’s daily life, in fact, the Indian courts have borrowed quite a lot from the English principles as well as from the decisions of the common law along with creating their own precedents. This has helped the concept of nuisance in the field of law develop quite extensively and assures the fairness and well being of all the parties which may be involved such as in the case of Private nuisance, the party which is being affected, as well as, in the case of public nuisance, where the society at large is being affected.

 

 

 

 

 

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