The word Nuisance is derived from the French word “Nuire” which means to hurt or to annoy or damage . Ordinarily nuisance means disturbance through an act /omission interfering with the right of other person to enjoy same property ,causing damages /discomfort to that person. Basically nuisance means unlawful or unreasonable interference with the person’s right to enjoy the same or in connection with it. Everyone wants to live freely without any type of disturbances and any person guilty of causing nuisance shall be held guilty under the Indian laws.


Any acts which causes continuous noise, Vibration, Heat, Smoke, Smell, Water Gas…etc


o According Stephen, he 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 trespass’.

o According Blackstone, he defined nuisance as ‘nuisance as some thing that worketh hurt, inconvenience or damage’.

o According Winfield, he defined nuisance as ‘ nuisance is incapable of exact definition but for the purpose of law of tort, it may be described as unlawful Interference with the right of public person’s use or enjoyment of land or of some right of public over, or in connection with it.’

o According Salmond, he defined nuisance as ‘the wrong of nuisance consists in causing or allowing unlawful justification 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, …etc

Types of nuisance

There are two types of nuisance-

I. Public nuisance (general or common Nuisance)

II. Private Nuisance (called Tort of Nuisance)

I. Public Nuisance

It is an act or omission causing injury or damage or offences to the public at large and people in general is know as Public Nuisance. Public nuisance is both tort and crime. Public nuisance is defined under section 268 of IPC and if any person guilty of causing public nuisance which must necessarily cause injury, damage, obstruction or discomfort shall be held liable according to this code.

Examples :-

Obstructing public way by Create a plan . ,Construction of structure on public way

Essentials of Public Nuisance

1. Interference with the right of public person in general then, act must be punishable .

2. Person suffers special damage.

Case:- Dr. Ram Raj Singh v. Babulal AIR 1982

In this case the defendant established a stone crushing machine adjoining the land of plaintiff causing him continuous disturbance. It was held that dust of brick by grinding machine and thrilling sound is creating a public nuisance.

Ushaben v. Bhagyalaxmi Chitra Mandir AIR 1978

In this case it was held that watching the movie ‘jai Santoshi maa’ had not hurt any religious sentiments. And if plaintiff sentiment hurts it was not considered as a nuisance and he was free not to watch that movie again. For the offence of public nuisance injury must be to the people at large . Here defendant injury was not considered as a public nuisance and hence the plea dismissed.

Soltou v. De Held (1851)

– Ringing of church bell through out 24 hrs was considered as an act of causing public nuisance.

When Public Nuisance becomes actionable

1. Plaintiff must show a specific damage- Not general damage.

2. Such injury must be foreseen by defendant and not merely consequential injury.

3. The injury must be shown as a substantial.

II. Private Nuisance

If the nuisance cause injury or damages to an individual or group of individual ,it is called private nuisance. It refers to unlawful interference for the purpose of enjoyment and to use his land. Examples of private Nuisance are wrongful escape of foul gas excessive noise , noxious gases, dust etc.

Essentials of Private Nuisance

1. unlawful and Unreasonable interference nuisance

2. Interference for the the purpose of using and enjoyment of land.

3. Damage caused. Here, the plaintiff has to prove the actual damage he suffered .

Case:-Radhey Shyam v. Gur Prasad AIR 1975

– permanent injunction granted after installation of floor mill on ground floor which causes annoyance to the plaintiff who was residing on the the first floor. The sound of noise caused inconvenience him and due to which his mental health also affected. The court held that Keeping the mill in the residential area is causing Nuisance to the person. And the plaintiff was not entitled for the benefit of injury.

Barber v. Penley (1893)

– Defendant had theatre and long queues of persons from theatre which went up to premises of the plaintiff house causes inconvenience to the plaintiff and therefore it was private Nuisance.

Defences of Nuisance

1. Effectual Defences

(a) Prescription

b) Statutory Authority

(c) Consent of the plaintiff

(d) Act of God

2. Ineffectual Defences

(a) Nuisance due to acts of other person

(b) Public Good

(c) Reasonable care

(d) Plaintiff coming to nuisance

Difference between Public nuisance and Private nuisance

Public Nuisance

1. It is an act or omission causing injury or damage or offences to the public at large and people in general

2. Its is a actionable

3. A person may take an action if he suffer a special injury

4. Act must be punishable .

5. It is a violation of the public right

Private nuisance

1. If the nuisance cause injury or damages to an individual or group of individual

2. Its is not actionable

3. Injured person may take an action

4. Plaintiff have a burden to proof interference with his enjoyment of land

5. It is a violation of the right of a individual person

Author: Yash Srivastava,
Invertis University/ bba LLB 2 year

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