Friday, 28 January 2022

Landmark Cases through which Law of Torts has evolved - By Isha

Landmark Cases through which Law of Torts has evolved – By Isha


  1. Ashby vs. White: 

In this case, the plaintiff was a valid voter at a parliamentary election. The defendant, the returning officer at a voting booth, wrongfully disallowed the plaintiff from exercising his franchise. Now, there was no loss, monetary or otherwise, suffered by the plaintiff. Even the candidate for whom, he wanted to vote won the elections. Nevertheless, the plaintiff succeeded in his action against the defendant, for the simple reason that the plaintiff’s  legal right was violated.


  1. Bhim Singh vs. State of J&


The plaintiff an MLA Of J&K assembly was wrongfully arrested and detained by the police, while he was proceeding to the assembly. Further, he was not produced before the magistrate within the stipulated period. This act was a violation of both his fundamental and legal right. Finally, it was held that the state was liable and was compelled to pay damages to Mr. Bhim Singh.


  1. Gloucester Grammar School

In this case, a school teacher, set up a rival school in the same locality. As he charged low fees, students dropped out of the plaintiff’s school and joined the defendant’s school. The plaintiff contended that the defendant had intended to cause wrongful loss to him. It was held that the plaintiff had no remedy, as there was no legal wrong committed by the defendant. Thus, in this case, there is monetary loss to the plaintiff, but there has been no violation of his legal right. Hence, there is no case of tort.

Thus, a legal act that has been done maliciously will not make a defendant liable. Only if the plaintiff shows that he has suffered injury on account of the defendant’s illegal act, then he can claim damages.


  1. Hall vs Brooklands Auto racing club:

The plaintiff was a spectator at a motorcar race. Due to collision between two racing cars, one of it rammed into the spectator’s stand and injured the plaintiff. The court held the organizers were not liable, as the plaintiff impliedly took the risk of such injury.


  1. Haynes vs. Harwood

In Haynes vs. Harwood, the defendant left a horse carriage outside a building, absolutely unattended. Some urchins playing nearby threw stones at the horse. The horse unbridled itself and started running. This frieghtened the passer-by and everybody started running. A police constable, who was on duty in a nearby police station, decided to take charge of the situation and succeeded in stopping the horse. In the process of doing so, he sustained injuries and claimed damages from the defendant. The defendant was held liable and was prevented from setting up the defence of Volenti non fir Injuria.


  1.  Donoghue vs. Stevenson

A man bought a bottle of ginger beer for his girlfriend manufactured by the defendant. The lady drank the contents of the bottle directly. Later, she poured the remaining contents into a glass. To her utter shock, she noticed that a dead snail popping out of the bottle. She fainted and fell ill, as she had already consumed a portion of the drink. It was held that the manufacturer was liable to the lady for negligence.


  1. State Bank of India vs. Shyama Devi

The respondent, Mrs Shyama Devi, opened a savings account with the plaintiff’s predecessor ( Imperial Bank of India) at its Allahabad branch. The respondent gave some cash and cheque to one Kapil Deo Shukla, who was a friend of the respondent’s husband and employed in the said bank, for being deposited in her account. The said payments were made to Kapil Deo Shukla in his capacity as the respondent’s husband’s friend. No receipt or voucher was obtained indicating the said deposits. The bank’s servant instead of making the deposits in the respondent’s account, got the cheque encashed and misappropriated the amount. He, however, made false entries in the respondent’s passbook and the bank’s ledgers outside the course of employment and the appellant bank could not be made liable for the fraud committed by its servant.




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