The word tort has been derived from a Latin word “tortum” which means twisted or crooked. Tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common law action for unliquidated damages, and which is not exclusively the breach of contract, or, the breach of trust, or, other merely equitable obligation. It is different from breach of contract and trust. Tort is when the act of one party causes some harm to the other party due to negligence, carelessness on the part of another party. The one who sues is known as ‘plaintiff’ and the one who is sued is known as ‘defendant’.
One moment you are walking on the road and the other you slip into the pit left open by the Municipal Corporation. Without having a glance around, you stand up quickly to cover up the embarrassment you have faced. But what can you do? This happens every now and then especially in a country like India. Is there anyone who could be blamed for this? I have sustained injuries so I should be more careful from the next time. Isn’t it? No, there was a responsibility of Municipality in this situation. They were negligent in fulfilling their duty. This is what law of torts talks about and much more.
Even if the harm, which is caused was not intentional but due to carelessness or negligence, then also the other party can be sued. Tort allows people to hold the other person accountable for the injuries suffered by them.
In a nutshell, Tort law governs the remedies for civil wrongs. A person is liable for the wrongful act, whether done accidentally or intentionally. The injured or the aggrieved party is compensated by the payment / remedies for damages.
Damages may include compensation for loss of property, medical expenses, mental or physical incapability, pain and suffering, and punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.
Most of the claims that arise under civil suits, except contractual claims, are governed by the tort law. The intention of the tort law is to provide relief from wrongful acts of others through monetary compensation.
History of torts in India – To deal with the malicious behaviour of the people tort existed in Hindu and Muslim law but it can be said that tort was formally introduced by the Crown in India. It is based on the principles of equity, justice, and good conscience. The law of torts is based on the principles of ‘common law’ which is mainly the English law of torts. The application of the law of tort is an applied selectively in Indian courts keeping in mind if it suits the circumstances of Indian society. In India the term tort has been in existence since pre-independence era.
Objectives of a tort –
- To determine rights between the parties to a dispute.
- To prevent the continuation or repetition of harm i.e. by giving orders of injunction.
- To protect certain rights of every individual recognized by law i.e. a person’s reputation.
- To restore one’s property to its rightful owner i.e. where the property is wrongfully taken away from its rightful owner.
It can very well be established from above that, a tort is a civil wrong which is caused when one individual infringes another’s legal rights. And the concept of mental element may or may not be relevant in certain tort as in order to determine it, we would first have to know the nature of the tort committed by the individual. It can be done intentionally, as well as accidentally without the intention of committing such an act by performing certain acts carelessly or by accident like in the cases of negligence. The situation of Law of tort is not so well versed, as many people are still not aware of the rights that they possess which is due to the fact that there is a lack of awareness among the people, the fact that the law of torts is still uncodified and makes it less likely to be adaptable in certain cases to the Indian context, although now it has been adapted into the Indian context.
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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