Nuisance

When some act is committed by the person resulting in the wrongful interference, discomfort and injury are being suffered by the plaintiff then that can lead to the action for nuisance. It is different from trespass in the sense that in trespass there is direct interference by the person to the other’s property, but in nuisance, the interference is consequential of the act being done by the plaintiff.

Example

When A constructs his apartment in such a way that it blocks the daylight to pass by B’s home then that act done by A of the building would amount to Nuisance.

Hence, traditionally the term nuisance can be described as an unreasonable interference with the rights of the public or conduct that interferes with an individual’s use and enjoyment of his land can be termed as a nuisance. It is a very vast concept of law which includes it many harms and damages being suffered whether it is mental or physical harm caused by tangible or intangible objects. Any wrongful interference, which is the consequence of the act being done, can lead to the offense of a nuisance.

Types of Nuisance:

Nuisance can be of two kinds:

1. Public Nuisance:

It refers to the interference done on other property in such a manner that it infringes the right of the public at large. Therefore, it is a criminal offence. Thus, in simple language, it can be said that public nuisance is a crime and is responsible for the interference with the rights of the public and is punishable as an offense. Like for example, where A digs a ditch on the land used by many common people for traveling for their daily use. Then in that situation digging of ditch injures the right of the public, and therefore it can be termed as a public nuisance. 

In the case of, Dr. Ram Raj Singh vs. Babulal, the defendant had constructed a stone crushing machine, adjoining the plaintiff’s house. The plaintiff was a medical practitioner, and therefore the dust which the machine generates harms the environment. Moreover, the dust so generated enters the consulting chambers which are being inhaled by the plaintiff itself and also patients. It was held that the plaintiff was able to prove that such activity causes a problem at large and therefore it was a public nuisance. And also, injunction order was being issued to the defendant and also special damages were given to the plaintiff.

2. Private Nuisance:

Private nuisance is a kind of civil offense and is being filed in a case where there is the interference of the rights of the private individual. That is where a person’s right is being infringed or wrongfully interfered with by others.

Example

If A plays song in such a loud way that it disturbs his nature, then in that condition, the neighbor can file suit against A, this is known as a private nuisance.

Public nuisance can also become a private nuisance. But it occurs only when there is some harm which ought to have suffered by the public at large but there is some special or huge loss is being suffered by it. Like where the dig was ditched there was a possibility that the general people would face a problem but one specific person was injured in that act, therefore, it can come under the civil law court.’

Essentials:

For proving a nuisance, the following essentials are required:

1. Unreasonable interference:

Interference with one’s pleasure of land can create a nuisance, but not every obstacle so caused by the person can’t constitute a nuisance. Like playing the song at the normal voice which might disturb a neighbor, but that can’t develop a nuisance, as everyone has got the freedom to enjoy their own rights of enjoyment. Therefore, interference that causes damage to the plaintiff’s property or personal discomfort can constitute a nuisance, provided that such interference should be unreasonable i.e. beyond the limit of their own granted enjoyment right.

Example:

If One has a house by the side of the Highway road, then he can’t have a claim for the inconvenience which is necessarily incidental to the traffic on the roads.

As in the case of, Radhey Shyam vs. Gur Prasad the defendant’s alleged to put a permanent injunction to restrain them from installing and running of floor mill industry in the locality, as that would make already noisy locality noisier. Moreover, due to the installation of the machine, the plaintiff would lose their peace because of the rattling noise of the machine and resultant would be an adverse effect on their health. It was held that the installation of the machine would lead to unreasonable interference on the plaintiff’s right and therefore injunction was granted against the defendant.  

2. Interference with enjoyment on use of land:

Interference with the use of land may either lead to damage or loss to the property itself or injury to the health or comfort of the occupant of a certain property. Unauthorized interference with the use of another property causing him to lose to suffer, whether it be tangible or intangible which may lead to damage of one’s property then in that situation it leads to action for nuisance. Moreover, interference with the property of others causing him discomfort and inconvenience in using the premises can be held liable for nuisance.

3. Damage:

For bringing an action against nuisance it is necessary for the plaintiff to prove for the damage being suffered by the plaintiff through the act of the defendant. Fay vs. Prentice there was a cornice being built of defendant house was projected towards the plaintiff’s house. Plaintiff presumed that during rain the water would fall from the defendant’s house to plaintiff’s garden which would damage his property. This was needed to be proved by the plaintiff and therefore the defendant was held liable for the same.

Defenses:

There is a number of defenses being pleaded before the court. Some of them are recognized by the court, others failed. Recognized ones are as follows:

1. Right to commit to nuisance

To commit an act that would otherwise be considered as an offense for nuisance, if the permission is granted then under that circumstance the act would never be considered a nuisance. For where if a person is farming on a plaintiff’s land for which the plaintiff has not to raise any objection then in such circumstances it would be considered that such action has been done under the permission granted by the defendant for which after a long period of time defendant can’t have any claim. The period for legalizing such granted permission is presumed to be 20 years. 

As in the case of Sturges vs. Bridgman here the defendant was a confectioner who had his kitchen in the rear of his house. Till 20 years he has been using the kitchen where its materials like large pestles and mortars were kept and were in continuous use. The noise and vibrations used to come from his house which never disturbed the plaintiff. But when the plaintiff shifted his consulting room to garden then he felt disturbed due to the noise and vibration released from those pestles and mortars. It was held that the plaintiff was liable for nuisance and therefore injunction order was being passed against him. In his defense he pleaded for plaintiff permission being granted as the noise never disturbed him for 20 years but the defense also failed as a nuisance for the same was felt to the plaintiff when he shifted his room, therefore, the defense failed.

2. Statutory Authority:

If some act has been committed under the authority given by the statutory authority then under those circumstances that act would not lead to the offence of a nuisance. Like for example, where a railway company authorized by the government to run railway trains on the track, then if in spite of due care taken the sparks from engine set fire to the adjoining property or even if the value of property adjoining to it depreciate by the noise, vibrations, and smoke by the running train then the company won’t be held liable.

Author: Shubham siwach

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