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In simple words, Tort is a Civil Wrong. Law of Torts is one of the important branches of Law.

Meaning The word Tort is derived from a Latin word 'Tortus' which means 'twisted' or 'cooked act'. In English it means, 'wrong'. The Expression 'Tort' is of French Origin. The term 'Tort' means a wrongful act committed by a person, causing injury or damage to another, thereby the injured institutes (files) an action in Civil Court for a remedy viz., unliquidated damages or injunction or restitution of property or other available relief. Unliquidated damages means the amount of damages to be fixed or determined by the Court. The principle aim of the Law of tort is compensation for victims or their dependants. Grants of exemplary damages in certain cases will show that deterrence of wrong doers is also another aim of the law of tort.

The person who commits or is guilty of a tort is called a "tortfeasor". (Gordon v. Lee, 133 Me. 361, 178 A. 353, 355) The person who suffered injury or damage by a tortfeasor is called injured or aggrieved. Tort is a common law term and its equivalent in Civil Law is "Delict". As a general rule, all persons have the capacity to sue and be sued in a tort.

Types of Wrongs Wrong can be of two types - Public and Private. Tort is a Private Wrong, whereas Crime is a Public Wrong. Torts are tried in Civil Courts.

Wrong Public wrong - These are acts that are tried in Criminal Courts and are punishable under the Penal Law (such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in India) Private wrong - These are acts against an individual person or a person within a community and are tried in Civil Courts.

Origin The 'Law of Torts' owes its origin to the Common Law of England. It is well developed in the UK, USA and other advanced Countries. In India, Law of Torts is non codified, like other branches of law eg: Indian Contract Act, 1872 and Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is still in the process of development. A tort can take place either by commission of an act or by omission of an act. The law of torts in India is mainly the English law of torts which is based on the principles of the common law. This was made suitable to the Indian conditions in accordance with the principles of justice, equity and good conscience. However, the application of tort laws in India is not a very regular event and one can even go to the extent of commenting that tort as a law in India is far from being looked upon as a major branch of law and litigation. In the Indian legal system, the concept of punishment occupies a more prominent place than compensation for wrongs. It has been argued that the development of law of tort in India need not be on the same lines as in England. In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, Justice Bhagwati said, we have to evolve new principles and lay down new norms which will adequately deal with new problems which arise in a highly industrialized economy. We cannot allow our judicial thinking to be constructed by reference to the law as it prevails in England or for the matter of that in any foreign country. We are certainly prepared to receive light from whatever source it comes but we have to build our own jurisprudence. Definition Main article: Definition of Tort According to Prof. Winfield, Tortious Liability arises from breach of a duty primarily fixed by law; this duty is towards persons generally and its breach is redressable by an action for unliquidated damages. Sir John Salmond defined Tort as a civil wrong for which the remedy is 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. Types of Torts

Broadly speaking, Torts are of three types: Intentional Torts Against the Person: Assault, Battery, Infliction of mental distress, False imprisonment Against the Property Negligence Strict Liability Characteristics

1. Tort, is a private wrong, which infringes the legal right of an individual or specific group of individuals. 2. The person, who commits tort is called "tort-feasor" or "Wrong doer" 3. The place of trial is Civil Court. 4. Tort litigation is compoundable i.e. the plaintiff can withdraw the suit filed by him. 5. Tort is specie of civil wrong. 6. Tort is other than a breach of contract 7. The remedy in tort is unliquidated damages or other equitable relief to the injured. Essential elements to prove a Tort

Existence of legal duty from defendant to plaintiff Breach of duty Damage as proximate result.

Objectives of Law of Torts


to determine the rights between parties to dispute to protect certain rights recognized by law to prevent the continuation or repetition of a harm to restore the property to its rightful owner

Scope of Tort Tort & Contract 1. In a contract, the parties fix the duties themselves whereas in torts, the law fixes the duty.

2. A contract stipulates that only the parties to the contract can sue and be sued on it (privity of contract) while in tort, privity is not needed in order to sue or be sued. 3. In the case of contract, the duty is owed to a definite person(s) while in tort, the duty is owed to the Tort and crime Tort and Quasi-Contract Intro: ----In Jai Laxmi Salt Works (P) Ltd. V. State of Gujarat, (1994) 4 SCC 1, Sahai, J. observed: Truly speaking entire law of Torts is founded and structured on morality that no one has a right to injure or harm intentionally or even innocently. In Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002] UKHL 22; [2003] 1 A.C. 32, Lord Bingham of Cornhill said: the overall object of tort law is to define cases in which the law may justly hold one party liable to compensate another. Essentials of a Tort To constitute a tort, it is essential that the following two conditions are satisfied; 1. There must be some act or omission on the part of the defendant, and 2. The act or omission should result in legal damage (injuria), i.e. violation of a legal right vested in the plaintiff. 1. Act or omission In order to make a person liable for a tort, he must have done some act which he was not expected to do, or, he must have omitted to do something which he was supposed to do. E.g. A commits the act of trespass or publishes a statement defaming another person, or wrongfully detains another person; he can be made liable for trespass, defamation or false imprisonment, as the case may be. One must note that the wrongful act or a wrongful omission must be one recognized by law. If there is a mere moral or social wrong, there cannot be a liability for the same. Glasgow Corporation v. Taylor, (1922) 1 A.C. 44 If a corporation, which maintains a public park, fails to put proper fencing to keep the children away from a poisonous tree and a child plucks and eats the fruits of the poisonous tree and dies, the Corporation would be liable for such omission. Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Subhagawanti, AIR 1966 SC 1750

Municipal Corporation, having control of a clock tower in the heart of the city does not keep it in proper repairs and the falling of the same results in the death of a number of persons, the Corporation would be liable for its omission to take care in the matter. 2. Legal Damage In order to be successful in an action for tort, the plaintiff has to prove that there has been a legal damage caused to him. In other words, unless there has been violation of a legal right, there can be no action under law of torts. This makes it necessary to discuss the following two maxims: a. Injuria Sine Damno b. Damnum Sine Injuria. a. Injuria Sine Damnum Injuria means infringement of a right conferred by law on the plaintiff or an unauthorized interference, howsoever trivial, with the plaintiffs right. Damnum means substantial harm, loss or damage in respect of money, comfort, health or the like. Sine means without. Injuria Sine Damno means violation of a legal right without causing any harm, loss or damage to the plaintiff. There are two kinds of torts: 1. those torts which are actionable per se, i.e. actionable without the proof of any damage or loss. E.g. Trespass to land is actionable even though no damage has been caused as a result of the trespass; 2. the torts which are actionable only on the proof of some damage caused by an act. Illustrations If a claimant is wrongfully detained against his will, he will have a claim for substantial damages for wrongful imprisonment even if no consequential loss was suffered upon the detention. If a tenant makes improvements to the property leased without the right to do so, the tenant commits the tort of waste and is liable for damages even though the premises may be improved and rendered more valuable by the alterations. Ashby v. White, (1703) 2 Lord Raym 938; (1703) 1 Sm. L.C. 13th ed., 253 The plaintiff was a qualified voter at a Parliamentary election. The defendant, a returning officer wrongfully refused to take plaintiffs vote. The Plaintiff suffered no damage as the candidate for whom he wanted to vote won the election in spite of that. The defendant was held liable. Bhim Singh v. State of J. & K. AIR 1986 SC 494 The petitioner, an M.L.A. of Jammu & Kashmir, was wrongfully detained by the police while he was going to attend the Assembly session. Further he was not produced before the Magistrate within the requisite period. As a consequence of this, he was deprived of his constitutional right to attend the Assembly session. There was also violation of

fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. By the time the petition was decided by the Supreme Court, Bhim Singh had been released, but by way of consequential relief, exemplary damages amounting to Rs. 50,000 were awarded to him. b. Damno Sine Injuria It means damage which is not coupled with an unauthorised interference with the plaintiffs lawful right. Gloucester Grammar School Case (1410) Y.B. Hill 11 Hen, 4 of 47, P.21,36 The defendant, a schoolmaster, set up a rival school to that of the plaintiffs.Because of the competition, the plaintiffs had to reduce their fees from 40 pence to 12 pence per scholar per quarter. Thus claimed the compensation for the loss caused. It was held that the plaintiffs had no remedy for the loss thus suffered by them. Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor Gow and Co. (1893) A.C. 25 A number of steamship companies combined together and drove the plaintiff company out of the tea-carrying trade by offering reduced freight. The House of Lords held that the plaintiff had no cause of action as the defendants had by lawful means acted to protect and extend their trade and increase their profits. Ushaben v. Bhagyalaxmi Chitra Mandir, AIR 1978 Guj. 13 The plaintiff contended that the film Jai Santoshi Maa hurt the religious feelings of the plaintiff in so far as Goddesses Saraswati, Laxmi, and Parvati were depicted as jealous and were ridiculed and thus sued for a permanent injunction against the defendants to restrain them from exhibiting the film. It was observed that hurt to religious feelings had not been recognized as a legal wrong. Moreover, no person has a legal right to enforce his religious views on another or to restrain another from doing a lawful act, merely because it did not fit in with the tenets of his particular religion. Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium The law of torts is said to be a development of the maxim ubi jus ibi remedium. It means that where there is a right there is remedy. In other words, whenever the right is violated the person whose right has been infringed has remedy against the person who has violated it. A tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is an action for unliquidated damage, thus the main remedy for tort is an action for damage. This principle explains about the right of an injured person to damage which brings such wrongful act within the category of torts. It should however be noted that the maxim does not mean that there is legal remedy for every moral or politic wrong.