Nuisance is an unlawful interference to the enjoyment or use or of some of the rights of a person’s possession of his property. ‘Nocere’ is the Latin word for nuisance which means ‘to cause harm’.

There are some essential elements which are importance to make nuisance as actionable and that are-

  • Wrongful Act: - It can say that when the law fixed any legal limit or restriction on any conduct of person and if that person breaks that limit or restriction intentionally by their conduct then that person is deemed to committed a wrongful act.
  • Damage or less or inconvenience or annoyance caused to another: - It means any damage or loss or by the conduct and that damage or loss or inconvenience or annoyance recognised by law as substantial or material for taking action. Here, we can take the actual damage or loss.

The essentials are important in both the types of nuisances and the types are: 

PUBLIC NUISANCE: - Public Nuisance is like nuisance with public, it means effecting or illegal interference in the rights or enjoyments of the public at large or some portion of it. The nuisance which interferes in the public health, safety, and convenience is called Public Nuisance. For example, religious ceremonies which causes loud noises and industries which causes water pollution or air pollution etc.

In order to make the public nuisance actionable, then the damage must be considerable, specific and direct. We can use this rule for avoiding the multiplicity of cases. Public nuisance define in section 268 of IPC, 1860, as “A person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or 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. A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage”. And public nuisance doesn’t create any civil action.

Everything has a procedure to do like the same public nuisance also have their procedure and which is given under the Section 91 of CPC, In the circumstances of the case, may be instituted,-  

  1. by the Advocate General, or
  2. with the leave of the Court, by two or more persons, even though no special damage has been caused to such persons by reason of such public nuisance or other wrongful act.

Soltan V. De Held, (1851)2 Sin NS 133, in this case, there was a Roman Chapel beside the house of plaintiff, the bell was rung at all time day and night there at the chapel and because of this it creates lots of nuisance and court held that ringing considered as public nuisance and plaintiff entitled for the injunction.

PRIVATE NUISANCE - Private Nuisance is like a nuisance in which another person unlawfully interferes in the rights, enjoyment or use of a person’s property. In private nuisance, there is a individual’s property interfered in their rights or enjoyment by another person. And the remedy will be there for damage as civil action or an injunction or both.

Radhey Shyam V. Gur Prasad AIR 1978 ALL 86, In this case, Radhey Shyam and others in the residential area and that make nuisance and for this, the plaintiff (Gur Prasad and another) had filled a case in that plaintiff reside at the first floor of the flour mill and by which plaintiff suffered loud noises and health issues. So, it was held by the court that the plaintiff was entitled to an injunction.

There are some defences, we can use for nuisances and that are: -

Effective Defences: Under this defence, there are two kinds of defences and that are: -

  • Prescriptive Right- It means if a person uses a land of another person for any activity for 20 years or more, then that person acquires a legal right as prescription for doing same activity in the future also.
  • Statutory Authority- This defence can be considered when the act has been done as the given in the statutory.
Ineffective Defences: these are-

  • Nuisance caused by the acts of others- it means when independently working people which are may be two or more causes any nuisance then that act not to be committed only by any single person. That act considered to be committed collectively, not solely.
  • For Public Good- It is actually not a defence but, in a case, where we can say that if any nuisance causing to a single person but the same nuisance is good for the other public then in this case, it is not considered as unlawful interference.
  • Taking Reasonable Care- Taking any reasonable care for the prevention of nuisance is not considered as defence.
  • Person itself come to the nuisance- In this case, if the person itself come to the area of nuisance, then this cannot be considered as defence.

 About the Author: This Legal Maxims is Authored by Ms. Srishty Jaiswal, law student at Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajastahan and is Member of Research & Innovation Division at MyLawman. She can be reached at 

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