Injuria sine damno refers to the violation of a legitimate right without causing any harm, loss, or injury to the aggrieved party. Whenever a legal right is infringed, the person in whom the right is vested has the right to take legal action.
Each individual possesses absolute rights to their property, personal immunity, and freedom, and any violation of these rights is significant. When someone’s legal right is violated, they have a cause of action, even if no actual harm or damage is caused. The law of torts protects this legal right.
Definition of Injuria Sine Damno?
Injuria Sine Damno means an injury or violation of a legal right without any accompanying actual damage or loss. It signifies a situation where a person’s legal rights are infringed upon, even though no tangible harm or loss has been suffered.
Injuria Sine Damno recognises that certain legal rights violations can be considered wrongful acts, irrespective of whether they cause direct harm or not. In such cases, the aggrieved party may still have a cause of action and seek legal remedies to protect their rights and seek appropriate redress.
Injuria Sine Damno= Infringement of Legal Rights without Damage
For instance, if someone is unlawfully held against their will, they can seek significant compensation for wrongful imprisonment, regardless of whether they experienced any additional negative consequences during the detention.
Legal Recourse Even Without Actual Harm
The law even allows for recourse in situations where there is a mere threat of infringement of a legal right, even if no harm has been done. The individual whose right has been threatened can initiate legal proceedings under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act, seeking a declaration and an injunction to protect their rights.
Landmark Cases on Injuria Sine Damno
Ashby v. White (1703)
In the case of Ashby v. White (1703), the plaintiff, who was a qualified voter, was wrongfully denied the opportunity to cast his vote in the parliamentary elections. Although he did not suffer any direct harm since his preferred candidate had already won, the defendants were still held accountable. This case established the principle that harm extends beyond mere financial loss and includes the violation of one’s rights, entitling the individual to legal remedies.
Sain Das v. Ujagar Singh (1940)
The principle of Injuria sine Damno also applies to trespass cases, as seen in the case of Sain Das v. Ujagar Singh (1940), where nominal damages are typically awarded. This principle applies when an unjustifiable intrusion on another person’s property exists. However, it was emphasised that the principle should not be extended to every case of property attachment without considering the specific circumstances involved.
Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu & Kashmir
In the case of Bhim Singh v. Province of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Bhim Singh, an MLA, was unlawfully arrested and detained by the police, preventing him from attending the legislative assembly sessions and voting. Although his preferred candidate won the vote, his right to vote was violated.
Mr Singh was arrested and not presented before the court within the required timeframe, being kept in a secret location. The case revolves around the violation of personal liberty, as the police, despite obtaining custody of the arrested person, failed to produce him before the judge within the specified time. This constituted a gross violation of rights under Article 21 and Article 22 of the Constitution.
The court ruled that the arrest was made with malicious intent, and the plaintiff was awarded compensation of Rs. 50,000. The arrest of a member of the legislative assembly on his way to the assembly session resulted in the deprivation of his right to attend the imminent meeting. In the case of Injuria Sine Damnum, the court has the jurisdiction to award appropriate financial compensation.
Ravi Yashvant Bhoir v. District Collector
In the Ravi Yashvant Bhoir v. District Collector Raigad case, the Supreme Court provided valuable insights into the concept of legal rights and the requirements for a valid claim.
A legal right is a claim arising from the law, representing a benefit granted to an individual. To challenge an act or omission, one must suffer a legal injury. However, not all harm or loss is considered wrongful under the law if it does not affect a legal right or a legally protected interest. Such harm without a legal injury is known as damnum sine injuria.
For a person to have a justiciable claim, they must demonstrate that they have been deprived of a legal right and have suffered an injury to a legally protected interest. If there is no legal basis for a claim, the individual cannot be recognised as a party in a legal proceeding. Mere fanciful or sentimental grievances are insufficient to establish locus standi to sue. There must be a recognisable legal grievance supported by valid reasons rather than a claim devoid of legal merit.
Injuria Sine Damno is a legal principle that recognises the violation of a legal right without the need for actual loss or harm. It signifies that a person can seek legal remedies and compensation even if no consequential damages have been suffered. This principle emphasises the importance of protecting and upholding individual rights, ensuring that individuals are not unjustly deprived of their legal entitlements.
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