Tort Law in India: Seriously underdeveloped.

In the course of history, tort law has undergone the evolution from homomorphic revenge to damage compensation, fault liability to multiple liabilities, absolute liability to relative liability, and then absolute liability. Since modern times, the statutory codes of continental Europe have established the status of tort law, while the tort law in the United Kingdom and the United States has flourished based on case law. In general, tort law has always played the function of filling damage and deterring acts, but the dominant functions in different periods are different. However, Tort Law has been unable to flourish in India at the rate that it should have. India to a large extent has inherited the law of Tort from Britain who brought the common law to India in the eighteenth century in the quarter-century following the 1857 revolt, the legal system was rationalised and systematised. In 1886, a draft of the Civil Wrongs Bill was drafted by Sr Frederick Pollock which was prepared for the Government of India, although it was never legally codified. 

Throughout 1914 to 1965 although tort cases were prevalent they were hardly a few cases for those 52 years. This trend continued and it was noted that there were not enough Tort cases that were reported. In the present situation Though cases reported are increasing but it’s not a substantiate increase. It is not true that its importance has not been highlighted by the court as there have been a few cases in which the matter of Tort Law and its importance was spoken about. In one such case of Jay Laxmi Salt Works (P) Ltd vs the State Of Gujarat, the court said that “Truly speaking entire law of torts is founded and structured on morality that no one has a right to injure or harm others intentionally or even innocently. Therefore, it would be primitive to class strictly or close finality the ever-expanding and growing horizon of tortious liability. Even for social development, orderly growth of the society and cultural refineness, the liberal approach to tortious liability by courts Is more conducive.” 

In India, there are many areas in which the development of Tort Laws is possible. For instance, like the development of tort law in the United Kingdom, the liability for tort and negligence in India should be expected to gradually be on its way to an establishment with the rapid development that the country is undergoing and capitalism. In the fields of traffic accidents, food safety, environmental protection, etc. recourse like no-fault liability has developed into the main method of liability for such infringement disputes. In a rapidly developing country, the radiation caused by infringements is active and wide, which has a great impact on society. Therefore, the application of no-fault liability in these infringement cases is a better way of imputation found today. In this process, the function of tort law to compensate for damages has been demonstrated, and it is considered to be the development trend of tort law in the future, and tort law has entered an era of objectification. If we look at the Tort of Defamation, it provides redressal for damages that are caused by harm that is not physical in nature. It allows for compensation in cases where one’s reputation has been wronged. Further, in the area of medical negligence or malpractice, there is recourse available however due to the lack of Tort awareness not many cases are reported in this sector either.  Therefore, it can be assumed that there are many aspects of Tort Law that can motivate people to approach the courts. According to Marc Galanter Tort Law in India is undeveloped due to reasons multiple reasons, including but not limited to physical and technical deficiencies of the courts due to overcrowding and lack of judges, outmoded procedural laws, public disdain for the lower courts, delay in judgements, meagre damage award, and continuing lawyer fees. All of this piled up dissuades the public from approaching the court for tort litigation. 

Despite the many areas in which the public can approach the courts, the Law of Torts is still very underdeveloped and unexplored in India. One reason that has remained constant in the past and present which has resulted in the lack of Tort cases is the absence of codified Tort laws which causes a lot of uncertainty in regulating and adjudicating these cases. Further, there is also the issue of lack of precedents due to the small number of cases that have been taken to court. To support its cause in a growing country like India, it requires codification and an increase in general awareness of the greater public to inform them of their rights and the remedies available to them in case of infringement of these said rights. There is a strong need for local conditions to be addressed and relief is provided to achieve the confidence of the people in Tort laws. Further, Lawyers and Judges who have played an important role in advancing Tort Law will have to continue facilitating these cases. If these matters are dealt with, the law certainly could get a good grip in the Indian Context due to the booming economic activities which may also be accompanied by large scale infringements. It would help to provide the laymen with an opportunity to seek redressal for any wrong done to them and a much-needed development will follow through for Tort litigation. 

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.

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