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NUISANCE AND ITS KINDS

This article is written by Adheena Printo C pursuing 3rd year BCOM LLB at Bharata Mata School Of Legal Studies(BSOLS)during the internship at LeDroit India

ABSTRACT

According to the law, the owner of property has the right to enjoy it uninterrupted. On the other hand, we might declare a tort of annoyance to have occurred if another person’s inappropriate use or enjoyment of his property results in an illegal interference with his use or pleasure of that property, or of part of the rights over it, or in connection with it.

The Old French word “nuire,” which meaning “to cause harm, or to hurt, or to annoy,” is where the term “nuisance” originates. “Nocere” is the Latin word for “annoyance,” meaning “to cause harm.”When someone misuses their property, it might cause harm to their right to keep and enjoy it undisturbed. This is known as nuisance behavior.

It is an unauthorized interference with someone’s right to use or enjoy their property. This legal right cannot be revoked without a valid reason. In violation of the granted protection, a one who forcibly tampers with another person’s right to this entitlement is guilty of “nuisance” under the law of torts. Generally speaking, everyone has the right to utilize and enjoy their property—whether it be immovable, mobile, or intangible—to the fullest extent possible.

INTRODUCTION

According to the law, a nuisance is any behavior by people or any physical state that causes offence or injury to other people and may give rise to legal action. An offense against the state is defined as a public nuisance that is produced in a public setting or on public property and that has an impact on the community’s morality, safety, or health. Public nuisances include things like blocking public roads, contaminating the air and water, running a prostitution establishment, and maintaining explosives.An action or circumstance that impedes the use and enjoyment of adjacent privately held land but does not technically amount to an invasion of the property is considered a private nuisance. Thus, even in cases when there hasn’t been any actual trespassing on the neighboring landowners’ property, excessive noise, toxic vapours, disagreeable odors, and vibrations may be considered a private nuisance.

Even though a public nuisance may only be addressed by the state through criminal charges, injunctions, or physical abatement, the same behavior might also cause a private nuisance for nearby landowners, giving rise to a civil lawsuit. When a company violates a zoning regulation, it causes a public nuisance, but neighbors who can demonstrate a decline in their property’s market value may also be able to take legal action as a private nuisance.

Only those having a property interest in the land in question may take legal action for private nuisances as they interfere with the use and enjoyment of the land. In cases when the interference does not cause physical harm to the land and only reduces the comfort of use and pleasure, the courts will take the neighborhood’s character into account when determining whether the action or situation constitutes excessive interference. Notwithstanding the nature of the neighborhood, any conduct that physically damages adjacent land will be considered an actionable nuisance. These situations typically entail toxic vapors that kill flora or vibrations that cause walls to split.

When a private nuisance occurs, the parties may take legal action to stop the activity or condition from continuing or to get monetary damages. The customary practice of the courts is to refuse an injunction and pay monetary damages for the harm sustained if the abatement of a nuisance through an injunction would place an undue hardship on the community (the shutdown of enterprises that would deprive community workers of their livelihood).

In Ushaben v. Bhagyalaxmi Chitra Mandir[1], the plaintiff sued the defendant for allegedly undermining the religious sentiments of a specific Hindu community by preventing the screening of the film “Jai Santoshi Maa.” The court rejected the plaintiff’s plea, ruling that the plaintiff was free to stop watching the film and that undermining religious sentiments was not a crime. Therefore, it was decided that interference had to be in a condition of continued wrong in order to be eligible for damages for nuisance.

In the case of Halsey v. Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd[2], the plaintiff’s health was harmed by the defendant’s factory’s emissions of smoke, oil, and fumes, which also polluted the surrounding environment. However, the plaintiff’s claim was only made against the defendant for the emissions of smoke, oil, and fume, not for any health hazards.

According to Salmond, “the wrong of nuisance consists in causing or allowing without lawful justification the escape of any deleterious thing from his land or from elsewhere into land in possession of the plaintiff, e.g. water, smoke, fumes, gas, noise, heat, vibration, electricity, disease, germs, animals”.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF NUISANCE

1. Wrongful act or an omission by the defendant

A defendant must violate the law before a nuisance case may be brought.This might include any behavior that appears on the surface to a smart person to be illegal and illogical.If the plaintiff is extremely sensitive and the action taken against the defendant is completely unreasonable due to their own sensitivity, the case cannot proceed even though it appears reasonable to a prudent man.

2. Damages/ Loss caused to the plaintiff

The plaintiff must experience significant pain or aggravation in order for the claim to be valid; this is considered a major material as it affects the plaintiff’s legal rights.

In Sanders Clark v. Grosvenor Mansions Co.[3], an injunction was granted to stop someone from turning a basement level into a restaurant because the noise and stench would be an annoyance to the apartment owner above.

In the Broadbent v. Imperial Gas Co.[4] case, the plaintiff’s garden product was being harmed by the gas company’s toxic material because of its close proximity to the market gardener. As a result, an injunction was imposed prohibiting the gas company from producing gas.

KINDS OF NUISANCE

1.PUBLIC NUISANCE

A nuisance is defined by the Indian Penal Code as an act that either inevitably causes harm, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to those who may have occasion to use any public right, or it causes any common injury, danger, or annoyance to the people in general who dwell or occupy the property nearby.

Public nuisances have an impact on society as a whole, on a sizable segment of the population, and on the property rights that society’s members may be able to exercise. A public nuisance is an act that has a major negative impact on or interferes with the general public’s comfort, safety, or health.Public nuisance is recognized by several national legislation as a crime that is punishable by both Indian and English laws. Therefore, any behavior that gravely jeopardizes the public’s health, safety, comfort, or convenience or that seeks to denigrate morality is considered a public nuisance.

The plaintiff in Solatu v. De Held [5](1851) 2 Sim NS 133 lived close to a Roman Catholic chapel where the defendant served as the priest and where the chapel bell was rung constantly. The plaintiff was granted the right to an injunction after it was decided that the ringing constituted a public nuisance.

The case of Leanse v. Egerton[6]  Glass from a window in the defendant’s vacant home fell on Tuesday, injuring the plaintiff while she was strolling along the highway. The window had been shattered during an air attack the previous Friday night.

No action had been done to address the risk to bystanders until Monday due to the defendant’s agents’ offices being closed on Saturday and Sunday and the difficulties in obtaining labor over the weekend. The true condition of the property was unknown to the owner.

2.PRIVATE NUISANCE

When someone else interferes with someone else’s use or enjoyment of their property, it is referred to as a private nuisance. Additionally, it might negatively impact the property owner by physically harming his possessions or impairing their pleasure of it. In contrast to public nuisances, which affect the whole community or public, private nuisances affect an individual’s use or enjoyment of their property. A private nuisance lawsuit may be pursued in civil court to obtain an injunction, damages, or both.

The respondent in Dilaware Ltd. v. Westminister City Council[7], was the owner of a tree that was growing in the highway’s sidewalk. The next building developed fractures as a result of the tree’s roots. After the fractures in the structure were discovered, the building’s transferee was found to be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable remediation costs for the full extent of the damage resulting from the trees’ ongoing annoyance.

Elements of a Private Nuisance 

Owners of real estate are entitled to use and pleasure of their property. Should a third party attempt to impede that entitlement.

For instance, a neighbor frequently blasts his music late at night at the highest intensity imaginable.

The property owner may file a lawsuit against the intruder in such a situation. Since your neighbor might not be entirely aware of the consequences of their conduct, talking to them about the annoyance is typically the best course of action. Although the definition of a private nuisance varies from state to state, a plaintiff usually needs to establish the following elements:

  • The plaintiff either owns the land or has the legal authority to do so.
  • In fact, the defendant interfered with the plaintiff’s ability to utilize and enjoy his or her property.
  • The defendant exhibited significant and noncompliant interference.

Kinds of Private Nuisance

  1. Damage to property
  2. Physical discomfort

1.Damage to Property

Any reasonable hurt will be sufficient to establish an action in the event of property damage. This kind of nuisances might originate from factories, supply lines, etc.For instance, noise, water, dirt, smells, smoke, plants, or animals.

2.Physical discomfort

When it comes to bodily pain, the behavior that is being complained of has to go beyond what is considered a normal and natural way to enjoy the property, significantly interfering with everyday conveniences.For example, engaging in any trade that obstructs light or causes discomfort.

Case Law: Rose v. Miles(1815) 4M &S. 101[8]

Due to the defendant’s unlawful obstruction of a publicly accessible navigable waterway, he was unable to carry his products across the creek and had to do so on land, incurring additional transportation expenses. The plaintiff successfully demonstrated that he had suffered a loss over other members of society and that he was entitled to pursue legal action against the defendant, leading to the conclusion that the defendant’s actions had created a public nuisance.

REMEDIES

1.INJUNCTION

A judicial order known as an injunction prevents someone from acting in a way that might endanger or violate the legal rights of another. It might take the shape of a brief injunction that is issued, rescinded, or upheld during its brief duration. In the event that it is validated, it becomes a permanent injunction.

2.DAMAGES

The offended person may be granted damages in the form of nominal damages or compensation. The statute determines the amount of damages that must be given to the person who has been wronged, and its goal is not only to make amends for the harm done to the victim but also to make the defendant realize his error and discourage him from committing the same wrong again.

3.ABATEMENT

A nuisance is abated when it is removed by the aggrieved party without the need for legal action. The law does not favor this type of remedy. but is accessible in specific situations.

The defendant must typically be notified of this right and his failure to act, and it must be used within a reasonable amount of time. Reasonable steps may be employed to utilize the abatement, and if the plaintiff’s activities exceed reasonable measures, he will be held accountable.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the notion of a nuisance—defined as an unjustifiable interference with someone’s use and enjoyment of their property—is recognized by tort law. There are many different types of nuisances, including loudness, smells, pollution, and other invasive activity. When someone is harmed by a nuisance, they may pursue legal action to make things right.

Injunctions, which are court orders compelling the person creating the nuisance to stop the offending behavior, and damages, which give the harmed party monetary compensation, are two types of remedies for nuisances under the law of torts. Additional remedies include declaratory judgments that make clear the rights and responsibilities of the parties concerned, and abatement, in which the impacted party takes steps to reduce or eradicate the nuisance.

Defendants who are charged with generating a nuisance, however, may also raise specific defenses. These defenses may include coming to the nuisance defense (if the plaintiff knew about the nuisance prior to purchasing the property), statutory authorization defense (if the conduct causing the nuisance was allowed by law), or contributory negligence defense (if the plaintiff’s own actions contributed to the harm experienced).


[1] Ushaben v. Bhagyalaxmi Chitra Mandir, AIR 1978 Guj 13

[2] Halsey v. Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd. (1961) 2 All ER 145

[3] Sanders Clark v. Grosvenor mansions Co. (1900) 16 TLR 428

[4] Broadbent v. Imperial Gas Co. (1856) 7 De GM & G 436

[5] Solatu v. De Held [5](1851) 2 Sim NS 133

[6] Leanse v. Egerton (1943) 1 KB 323

[7] Dilaware Ltd. v. Westminister City Council[7], (2001) 4 All ER 737 (HL)

[8] Rose v. Miles(1815) 4M &S. 101

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