Injuria Sine Damno &Damnum Sine Injuria


There are two kinds of torts:
Those torts which are actionable per se- actionable without the proof of any damage or loss. (Injuria Sine Damno).
Torts which are actionable only on proof of damage caused by an act.
(Damnum Sine Injuria)

It means Injury without damage or it means an infringement of an absolute private right without any actual loss or damage.
In Latin ‘Injuria’ means injury, ‘Sine’ means without and ‘Damnum’ means damage.
Whenever there is an infringement or invasion of legal right, the person whose legal right was violated can approach to recover damage, though he may not have suffered actual harm.
Injuria sine damno falls under the first category, there is no requirement to prove that as a consequence of an act, the plaintiff has suffered any harm.

Ashby v. White[(1703) 2 Lord Raym, 938 ] plaintiff who was a qualified voter at a parliament election, defendant who a returning officer was refused the plaintiff to cast the vote. The plaintiff did not suffer any loss per se as the candidate in whose favor he wanted to vote won the election but his legal right was violated. The court held that the defendant is liable to pay compensation to the plaintiff as his legal right to vote was violated. The defendant committed the tort.
It has been stated that when having a right he must necessarily exercise as per his convenience but if that right gets violated at any point in time or whether there was curtailment in the enjoyment of the right then there must be the remedy. Where there is a right, there is a remedy. It makes sense, but if there is no remedy for the right, then it will go in vain.

Marzetti v. Williams [1830] , the plaintiff was an account holder who was having an amount in his account he went to withdraw money by Self cheque. Though there was a sufficient amount in his account, the defendant banker refused to pay the plaintiff without any reason. So the plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant banker for damage. The court held that though the plaintiff suffered no monetary loss, the defendant is liable to refuse the customer cheque and hence suffered tort.

Indian case :-

Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu & Kashmir[ A.I.R 1986 S.C. 494 ], in this case, the plaintiff was an M.L.A of Jammu & Kashmir parliamentary assembly. When he was going to attend the assembly session, police arrested him wrongfully and was also taken to the Magistrate within 24 hours. Plaintiff was deprived of his legal right as well as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution was violated. The defendant was held liable and had to pay compensation of Rupees 50,000. The court in the case provided exemplary damages for the same.

Damnum sine injuria

It means damage which is not attached to an unauthorized interference with the plaintiff’s legal right.
Damage is caused it may or may not be substantial, to another person and is not actionable in law unless there is also the violation of a legal right of the plaintiff.
The most terrible harm may be inflicted on one man by another without a legal redress being obtainable as the doer did not infringe any legal right of the sufferer.
Damage without injury, here the party affected suffers damage which may also be physical but suffers no infringement of their legal rights.

Gloucester Grammar School Case[1440]– Defendant was a teacher in the plaintiff’s school and thereafter started his own school. Due to some dispute defendant left the plaintiff school and started his own school. As the defendant was very much liked by his student, children left the plaintiff school and joined the defendant school. Plaintiff sued the defendant for monetary loss. It was held that the defendant was not liable. Compensation is no ground of action as no legal right is violated.
Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor Gow and Co. [1892], a number of steamship companies combined together and drove the plaintiff company out of the tea-carrying trade by offering reduced freight. The House of Lords held that the plaintiff had no cause of action as the defendants had by lawful means acted to protect and extend their trade and increase their profits.

Ushaben v. Bhagyalaxmi Chitra Mandir AIR 1978 Guj. 13

In this case, the plaintiff pleaded before the court of law to issue a permanent injunction order on the film named, “Jai Santoshi Maa”. According to her, the film hurt the religious feelings of the plaintiff. It was observed that hurting of religious sentiments did not result in any legal injury, and also that other then the plaintiff no other person feelings were hurt. Therefore it was held that the defendant was not liable.

Chasemore v. Richardson, [(1859) 7 HLC 349], Plaintiff was running a mill on his own land, and for this purpose, he was using the water of the stream for a long time. The Deft dug well in his own land and thereby cut off the underground water supply of stream. Through percolation, the water gathered in the well of deft. The quantity of water of the stream was reduced and the mill was closed for non-availability of water. Plaintiff sued deft for damage. The court held that the Defendant was not liable, because of the principle of Damnum sine injuria. There was no violation of legal rights, though the actual loss in money.

Mayor & Co. of Bradford v. Pickles [1895] In this case, the plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant for constructing a well on his own land thereby obstructing the flow of water on the plaintiff’s land thus causing monetary loss to him as a result of scarcity of water for distribution to the people catered to by the organisation. The court applied the doctrine of damnum sine injuria and concluded that the plaintiff was not entitled to compensation as the defendant had not caused any wrongful loss or violation of any legal right to him. Action v. Bundell [(1848) 12 M & W.324] In this case the plaintiff was lawfully carrying on mining operations on his own land which unknowingly led to draining of water kept on the plaintiff’s land. The plaintiff then filed a suit to bring about action for damages. The court ruled that since the action of defendant was lawfully justified and didn’t lead to the infringement of the right of the plaintiff, hence no action for damages lay.

Vishnu Datt v. Board of H.S. & Intermediate Education, U.P. A.I.R. 1981 All. 46, Vishnu Datt, an intermediate student, was detained for shortage of attendance. His detention was found by the court to be e illegal as the attendance registers of the college were not maintained according to the regulations of the Board. As a consequence of the detention, he lost one year. His action to claim compensation for the loss was not allowed as the plaintiff’s claim did not fall under any of the heads recognised in common law and moreover the statutory provision did not provide for any compensation in the circumstances mentioned above.

Town Area Committee v. Prabhu Dayal, AIR 1975 All. 132, In this case the plaintiff constructed 16 shops on the old foundations of a building. The said construction was made without giving a notice of intention to erect a building under Section 178 of the U.P. Municipalities Act and without obtaining necessary sanction required under section 180 of that Act. The defendant’s demolished this construction. In an action against the defendants to claim compensation for the demolition, the plaintiff alleged that the action of the defendants was illegal as it was malafide. Was held that the defendants were not liable as no “injuria” could be proved because if a person constructs a building illegally, the demolition of such building by the municipal authorities would not amount to causing “injuria” to the owner of the property.

Aishwarya Says:

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