Essentials of Torts
To constitute a tort, it is essential that the following two conditions are satisfied:
- There must be some act or omission on part of the wrong doer.
- Such act or omission should result in violation of legal right of the aggrieved
- Tort, is a private wrong, which infringes the legal right of an individual or specific group of individuals.
- The person, who commits tort is called “tort-feasor” or “Wrong doer”
- The place of trial is Civil Court.
- Tort litigation is compoundable i.e. the plaintiff can withdraw the suit filed by him.
- Tort is a specie of civil wrong.
- Tort is other than a breach of contract
- The remedy in tort is unliquidated damages or other equitable relief to the injured.
The first step to constitute a tort is the commission or omission of an act by the wrongdoer. Either a positive wrongful act or an omission, which is illegally made, will make a person liable in an action for tort. The next element essential to constitute a tort is the violation of legal right. In the absence of any violation of a legal right, no action in tort can be initiated.
This principle is governed by two maxims, which are
Injuria Sine Damno: This means violation of legal rights without causing any damage i.e. there is injury though there is no damage. Even in the absence of any damage, if there is violation of legal right, the defendant will be liable.
e.g wherein the plaintiff being a lawful voter was denied to exercise his voting rights by the returning officer, the defendant in this case. Though the candidate for whom the plaintiff intended to cast his vote won eventually, the defendant was held liable.
Damnum Sine Injuria: This means instances when there is damage though there is no violation of any legal right of the plaintiff. If there is no violation of rights, no case in tort will stand.
e.g a schoolmaster, being the defendant, set up another school just adjacent to that of the plaintiff’s. The resulted competition forced the plaintiff to reduce the fees for the students considerably. It was held that the plaintiff is not entitled for any damages due to the loss suffered by him on the opening of another school in the same area by the defendant.