Sunday, 17 July 2022

Nuisance under Law of tort And IPC

 Nuisance Under Law of Torts


Nuisance as a tort means an unlawful interference with the person’s use and

enjoyment of land or some right over, or in connection with it. Acts interfering

with the comfort, health or safety are the examples of it. The interference may

be in any way eg noise, vibrations, heat, smoke, smell, fumes, water, gas,


Definitions given by different Scholars

The word ‘nuisance has been derived from the French word ‘nuire’ and Latin

word ‘nocare’ which means, to do hurt or to annoy.

• Ordinarily nuisance means disturbances.

• Stephen defined nuisance as, ‘to be anything done to the hurt or annoyance

of the lands, tenement or hereditaments of another, and not amounting to a


Blackstone, ‘nuisance as something that work to hurt, inconvenience or


Winfield, ‘nuisance is incapable of exact definition but for the purpose of law

of tort, it may be described as unlawful interference with a person’s use or

enjoyment of land or of some right over, or in connection with

Salmond, ‘the wrong of nuisance consists in causing or allowing without lawful

justification (but so as to common to trespass) the escape of any deterious

thing from his land or from elsewhere into land in possession of the plaintiff

eg. Water, smoke, smell, fumes, gas, noise, heat, vibration, electricity, disease,

germs, animals.

Clark and Lindsell, ‘nuisance is an act or omission which is an interference with

disturbance of or annoyance to a person in the exercise or enjoyment of –

a. Right belonging to him as a member of public when it is a public nuisance, or

b. His ownership or occupation of land, or some easement, quasi easement, or

other right used or enjoyed in connection with land, when it is private


Nuisance should be distinguished from trespass. Trespass is (i) a direct

physical interference (ii) with the plaintiff’s possession of land (iii) through

some material or tangible objects. Both nuisance and trespass are similar in so

far as in either case the plaintiff has to show his possession of land. The two

may even coincide, some kind of nuisance being also continuing trespass. The

point of distinction between the two are as follows-

If interference is direct, the wrong is trespass, if it is consequential, it amounts

to nuisance. Planting a tree on another's land is trespass. But when a person

plants a tree over his own land and the roots or branches project into or over

the land of another person, that nuisance.

Kinds of Nuisance

1. Public Nuisance

2. Private Nuisance

 Public Nuisance

Under Section 3 (48) of the General Clauses Act, 1897, the words mean a public nuisance

defined by the Indian Penal Code.

Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, defines it as “an act or illegal omission which causes

any common injury, danger or annoyance, to the people in general who dwell, or occupy

property, in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger or

annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.”

Private Nuisance

Private nuisance is the using or authorizing the use of one’s property, or of anything under

one’s control, so as to injuriously affect an owner or occupier of property by physically

injuring his property or affecting its enjoyment by interfering materially with his health,

comfort or convenience.

In contrast to public nuisance, private nuisance is an act affecting some particular individual

or individuals as distinguished from the public at large. The remedy in an action for private

nuisance is a civil action for damages or an injunction or both and not an indictment.

Public nuisance is a crime whereas private nuisance is a civil wrong. Public nuisance is

interference with the right of public in general and is punishable as an offence. Obstructing

a public way by digging a trench, or constructing structure on it are example of public

nuisance. Although such obstruction may cause inconvenience to many persons but none

can be allowed to bring a civil action for that, otherwise there may be hundreds of actions

for a single act of public nuisance. To avoid multiplicity of suits, the law makes public

nuisance only an offence punishable under criminal law.

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