The term Nuisance has been derived from the Latin term nocere or nocumentum and the French word nuire. Which means to do harm or to annoy. The term nuisance literally means annoyance, anything which works hurt, inconvenience or damage or which essentially interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.
Ordinarily nuisance means disturbances. But in law of torts, Bracton, the early English jurist, has used the expression in a loose sense, including in it not only servitude and profit a prendre but also the natural right of a person to do what he likes on his own land. Modern writers have rightly not considered an owner’s common right to do what he likes on his own land as a nuisance but a natural right incident to the ownership of land.
In tort nuisance means any act omission, place or thing which causes or is likely to cause injury, danger or offence to the sense of sight, smell or hearing or which is, or may be dangerous to life or injurious to health or property.
As per Salmond, Nuisance is incapable of exact definition but for the purpose of the law of tort, it may be described as unlawful interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land or some right over, or in connection with it the wrong of nuisance consists in causing or allowing without lawful justification the escape of any deleterious thing from his land or from elsewhere into land in possession of the plaintiff, e.g., water, smoke, smell, fumes, gas, noise, heat, vibration, electricity, disease, germs, animals, negligence.
The basis of the law of Nuisance is the maxim ‘sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas means so use your own property as not to injure your neighbour’s, that is a man must not make such use of his property as unreasonably and unnecessarily to cause inconvenience to his neighbour.
Essentials of Nuisance
- Right to use or enjoyment of land – The plaintiff must have right to use and enjoyment of land in order to found an action in nuisance. However, a mere right to use or enjoyment without any proprietary interest may not be sufficient.
As nuisance is an interference with the use or enjoyment of land, an owner or reversioner who is not in occupation of it cannot sue for nuisance without joining the occupier unless the nuisance falls within any of the following exceptions:
- Where nuisance is such as to cause actual damage to the property.
- Where the nuisance is of permanent character and may reduce the value of reversion.
- Where if nuisance is allowed to continue the person causing it may acquire a prescriptive right to continue it.
- Interference – In order to entitle the plaintiff to sue for damages there must be some interference with the use or enjoyment of land or of some right over, or in connection with, it causing damage to the plaintiff. The interference may take place in different ways such as through noise, smell, pollution of air or water etc.
The interference with the use or enjoyment of land may take any of the following forms-
- Causing physical damage to land or something upon
- Causing inconvenience, discomfort or annoyance
- Interference must be unreasonable – Reasonable is considered as a test in the tort of nuisance. In nuisance even if a person has taken all possible care under the circumstances he will still be liable. Reasonable in nuisance is something more than merely taking proper care. Every interference cannot be nuisance. The reasonableness or unreasonableness of interference will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
- Damage – Unlike trespass, which is actionable per se, actual damage is required to be proved in an action for nuisance. Nuisance is not actionable per se.
- Malice – In nuisance malice is material. A lawful act may become an unlawful nuisance if the doer was actuated by malicious motive.
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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