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An Overview Of Law Of Torts

Origin of Law of Torts

Earlier the French William the Conqueror's 1066 Norman conquest of England, the legal system was somewhat different, decided on a more-or-less case-by-case degree. After 1066, eminent judges were ordered to travel different allotted region in order to absorb those village laws which had developed over centuries.

Using this information, these judges noted and implemented precepts they deemed fit into their own court findings. Further, when referred to often enough, these cases became and are now called legal precedents. Sessions during which these judges conducted trials were termed as assizes, or in modern terms, sittings. Even now, the designation from which a judge announce verdicts and sentences is called the bench.

Once established, these precedents were meant to be allotted equally to each member of society, from a lord to a serf, concluding the term common law. After the Norman Conquest, fines to be paid only to courts or to the king, and quickly converted into a revenue source. A wrong which is known as a tort or trespass, and there arose a difference between civil pleas and pleas of the crown.

The law of Torts introduced in India through England. After the Norman Conquest, French was the spoken language in England's judiciary hence many of the English law's technical terms have their origin to French and tort is among one of them. The expression Tort is based on the concept that there are certain rights for every individual in the society. The reasoning behind this tort law was to enforce rights and duties.

Law of Torts in India

Under the Hindu law and the Muslim law tort owed a much narrower conception than the tort under the English law. The punishment of crimes under these systems occupied a more prominent place than compensation for wrong doings. The law of torts in India is basically the English law of torts which is based on the principles of the common law of England. It was made suitable to the Indian conditions appeasing to the principles of justice, equity and good conscience and as is amended in the Acts of the legislature. Its origin is directly linked with the establishment of British courts in India.

In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, Justice Bhagwati held:
we must evolve new principles and lay down new norms which will exclusively deal with the new problems which arose in a highly industrialized economy. We cannot allow our judicial thinking to be decided by reference to the law as it prevails in England or for the matter of that in any of the foreign nations. We should be certainly prepared to receive light from whatever source it comes but and we have to build our own jurisprudence.

It was also held that section 9 of CPC, which enables the civil court to adjudicate all suits of a civil nature, impliedly confers jurisdiction to apply the Law of Torts as principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Therefore, the court can construe upon its inherent powers under section 9 for developing such a field of liability.

Essentials of Law of Torts

Act/Omission and a Breach of Duty

To constitute a law of tort there should be a demonstration that can either be negative or positive. There must be some kinds of obligation to constitute such kinds of wrongful act or omission. It further implies that there was an obligation to do or not to complete a specific act, or to carry on in a defined way in which a sound and sensible man is relied upon to act in particular situations.

Legitimate Damage

The final part in constituting a tort is the moulding of lawful obligation. The legitimate rights vested with the offended party ought to have been infringed i.e. certain acts or oversight have brought about the obstruct of lawful duty. When there is violation of legal duty by an act, then the party who has incurred the damages is legally eligible to seek relief from that court and owe a duty to claim damages for their loss.

Legitimate damage could be understood clearly with the help of following maxims:

  1. Injuria sine damnum

    Injuria means unapproved obstruction with the duties of the offended party. Damnum implies damage or misfortune ensured as far as solace, monetary terms, and wellbeing etc as are considered.

    At a point when there is an infringement of legal appropriate with no damage to the offended party, the offended party can easily approach the court. In the landmark judgement of Ashby v White, the offended party has been kept away by the respondent, a returning officer. The offended party was an eligible voter at the parliamentary election but due to detainment, his voting right were abused. The offended party sued the respondent for infringement of his lawful right. Since there is an injury, likewise the cure must exist for it.

  2. Damnum sine injuria:

    Accordingly, if there is some damage caused to the affected party with no breach of duty towards offended party's legal right. A man cannot seek relief in court regardless of whether the damage is caused because of the ponder act of the respondent, as long as the other party is practicing their legal right. In the landmark judgement of the Gloucester Grammar School, the respondent party set up their school precisely next to the school of the offended party.

    The offended party ensured misfortune in view of the adversary school as he needed to reduce the expenses as numerous understudies took confirmation in respondent's school. Then in such case there is no cure acceptable for the misfortune endured by him. The respondent hasn't done anything in abundance of his legitimate right.

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