what is tort and how did it come to india

Meaning of Torts-

  • The word ‘Tort’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘tortum’ which translates to ‘twisted’. In the easiest set of words, a tort is a civil wrong that causes someone to suffer loss or harm and results in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.
  • According to Wex Legal Dictionary, a tort can be defined as “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability. In the context of torts, “injury” describes the invasion of any legal right, whereas “harm” describes a loss or detriment in fact that an individual suffers.”

Arrival of Tort Law in India-

  • The concept of deciding cases by applying Tort Laws commenced during the British era in India. It is a relatively new development here, and most of it is still uncodified.
  • The earliest origins of Torts can be seen in the Roman laws in the form of delict, which later influenced the civil law jurisdictions in Continental Europe, but a distinctive body of law arose in the common law world traced to English tort law.

The sources of Tort Law in India include:

Statutes: These are the codified parts of the Tort Law. Moreover, the Indian Penal Code also criminalises certain torts of grave nature, for example, criminal trespass, assault etc.

Common Law: As this particular form of law is young in India, it refers to certain judicial precedent from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada etc.

Relevant Local Customs and Practices: Certain local customs and practices need to be adapted to before applying the foreign judicial precedents into the matters in the Indian cases.


These are two important legal maxims attached to the concept of Torts and damages.

Damnum Sine Injuria

It means damage which is not coupled with an unauthorized interference with the plaintiff’s lawful right. Causing of damage, however substantial, to another person is not actionable in law unless there is also the violation of a legal right of the plaintiff. The maxim damnum sine injuria can be better explained by the following mathematical formula as deduced by Prof. S.P. Singh in his book ‘Law of Tort’ as:

Act + Loss — Injury = Damnum sine injuria
Defendant’s act + plaintiff’s loss — Plaintiff’s injury = Damnum sine injuria.

Defendant’s act + Defendant’s malice + Plaintiff’s loss — Plaintiff’s injury = Damnum sine injuria.


The plaintiff had a school wherein there were many students enrolled. The school, being the only one in the locality was flourishing well. However after a passage of time, the Defendant opened another school of his own just infront of the Plaintiff’s school. He also kept the fees half of that of the Plaintiff’s school fees. This led to the transfer of old and new students from Plaintiff’s to Defendant’s school, and the former suffered huge monetary los. He filed a suit against the defendant for damages.

The House of lords held that merely starting a competitive business does not violate any of the Plaintiff’s Legal Rights even when he suffered monetary losses. The suit was hence rejected.


Injuria sine damno means the violation of a legal right without causing any harm, loss or damage to the plaintiff. It is just reverse to the maxim damnum sine injuria.

In case of injuria sine damno, the loss suffered by the plaintiff is not relevant for the purpose of a cause of action. It is relevant only for assessing a number of damages. If the plaintiff has suffered no harm and yet the wrongful act is actionable, nominal damages may be awarded.

Thus, the maxim injuria sine damno can be better explained by the mathematical formula deduced by Professor S.P. Singh in his book ‘Law of Tort’ as:

Act + Injury-Loss = Injuria sine damno.
Defendant’s act + Plaintiff’s Injury — Plaintiff’s loss = Injuria sine damno.


The plaintiff was a qualified voter at a parliamentary election, but the defendant, a returning officer wrongfully refused to take plaintiff’s vote. No loss was suffered by such refusal because the candidate for whom he wanted to vote won in spite of that. The defendant was held liable, even though his actions did not cause any damage.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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E- Waste and its management in India – Aishwarya Sandeep

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