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Damnum Sine Injuria-Case Comment

Damnum Sine Injuria:

This is a legal maxim in law of torts which deals with damages caused without injury. So it basically deals with the damages caused where there is no involvement of infringement of legal rights. Since there is no infringement of legal rights to any particular person, hence this cannot be enforced in court of law.

The mere fact that a man is injured by another's act gives in itself no cause of action; if the act is deliberate, the party injured will have no claim in law even though the injury is intentional, so long as the other party is exercising a legal right.

Damnum sine Injuria is a Latin word, which mean DAMAGE WITHOUT INJURY, and hence the word itself clearly establishes that if a person suffers from any kind of damage, but if there is no Inter vision with the legal rights of a person, then neither it can be enforced in the court of law, nor a person can claim any compensation.

The maxim Damnum Sine Injuria is dived into three parts:

  1. Damnum includes anything which is related to substantial loss, harm, damage with respect to money, health etc.
  2. Injuria means infringement of a right given by the law by the plaintiff
  3. Sine means without
The general principle on which this maxim is based upon is that if one exercises his common or ordinary rights, within reasonable limits, and without infringing others legal right; such an exercise does not give rise to an action in tort in favor of that other person. Damages can be in any form either in the form of any substantial harm or loss suffered from respect to the money, comfort, health, etc.

In order to get more clarity regarding this Damnum Sine injuria concept, let�s have a detailed case analysis.

The Land mark case dealing with this concept include:

Gloucester Grammer School Case:

Facts: In this case, the defendant was a school teacher who used to work in plaintiff school. Due to some conflicts which arose between the defendant and plaintiff, defendant had left the school. Later, he set up a rival school next to that of plaintiff. Defendant school teacher was very popular for his teaching. Boys from the plaintiff school left it and started to join in defendant�s school, because of this competition the plaintiff had to reduce them from 40peneace to 12penance. The plaintiff sued defendant for monetary loss occurred.

Issues Raised In This Case:
  1. Can defendant be held responsible for the monetary loss suffered by the plaintiff, just because he had fixed a rival school and damaged the right of plaintiff?
  2. Did this case cover the essentials of Damnum sine injuria? And if yes then the defendant couldn�t be held liable?

It was held by court that; no suit could lie. It was held by court of law that defendant couldn�t be held liable. The court stated that:
compensation is no ground of action even though the monetary loss is caused, but if no legal right is violated.

It also further stated that, the defendant had lawfully set up his own school and he nowhere violated any legal right of plaintiff.

It was believed by the court that, students liked the teaching style of defendant, hence it was at the discretion of the students to study in which ever school they want to.

Appellant has no right to stop the defendant to run a business as a competition to his school.

Case Analysis:
Law of Torts is understood to be An instrument to form people adhere to conduct of reasonable behavior and respect the rights and interests of one another.
  1. And the same are kept in mind while giving the judgment of the case at the top of the decision of the law of court.
  2. The case which we discussed above is related to An act which caused damage but no legal right is infringed or compromised
  3. This is known as Damnum Sine injuria which means: Damage without legal injury.

The decision taken in the case GLOUCESTER GRAMMER SCHOOL, was also applied to the similar case Chasemore vs Richards (1859). In this case the plaintiff was running a mill on his own land, and for the same purpose he was using stream water for a long time. The well which was dug in his own land did cut the supply of underground water supply.

The quantity of water in the stream was reduced due to this reason the mill was closed. The plaintiff sued deft for the damage caused. For this case, the court had taken the precedent from Gloucester grammar case and stated that this is a case of Damnum sine injuria. Since there is no legal injury, the court held that plaintiff ask for any compensation.
In India, the concept of law of torts has been given constitutional value as it is applied in deciding many cases.4

Vishnu Dutt Sharma vs Board of High School: In this case the plaintiff filed a suit and argued that he was entitled to damage as he had suffered a loss of one year due to wrongfully detention by the principal. Even in this case, the court held that the plaintiff can�t claim compensation as misconstructions of regulations doesn�t amount to tort. From this case analysis, we can conclude that compensation is not the ground of action despite the fact that monetary loss, or any other type of loss is caused but if no right is violated

For the concept of Damnum sine injuria, the Gloucester grammar case has been a land mark case, and from this the court had laid down the rules that:
If There Is No Infringement Of Legal Right, Then No Compensation Can Be Claimed

Foot Noting:
  1. Gloucester Grammar school case comment, Indian legal solutions
  2. Gloucester Grammar school case comment, E-justice India
  3. Chaesmore v/s Richards
  4. Vishnu Datt v/s Board of High School

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Naga Snigdha Nemani
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