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Law of Torts in India
The subject of Law of Torts is well developed in countries like USA, UK etc. It is still in the process of development and adaptation in India due to the lack of triple activism.
- Activism in People - In England and other advanced countries, people approach court even for simple cases. However, in India because of poverty, illiteracy, spirit of toleration and lack of legal know-how, the people are reluctant to approach courts.
- Activism in Judiciary - In India, the number of Courts and judicial offers is very limited and the cost of litigation is highly expensive. There is an inordinate delay in disposal of cases.
- Activism in Legislature - British legislature passes legislation well in advance wherever necessary.
- In the Indian system, punishments for crime is given more importance than compensation for wrongs.
- Negligence is a part of common law of India. There are several legislation for other forms of statutory torts such as Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, and the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1992.
- Sources of Indian Tort Law includes both Common law and Statutory law remedies.
Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law
- Rohtas Industries Ltd vs Rohtas Industries Staff Union, (1976) 2 SCC 82(93): AIR 1976 SC 425: In the context of tort of conspiracy, the court held, 'We cannot incorporate English torts without any adaption into Indian Law'.
- Lala Punnalal vs Kasturichand Ramji, (1945) 2 MLJ 461: There is nothing like exhaustive classification of torts beyond which courts should not proceed. Te new invasion of rights devised by human ingenuity might give rise to new classes of torts and in that way malicious house search may constitute such a new tort.
- M. C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 1086 (Oleum Gas Leak Case): "[w]e have to evolve new principles and lay down new norms which would adequately deal with the new problems which arise in a highly industrialised economy. We cannot allow our judicial thinking to be constricted by reference to the law as it prevails in England or for that matter in any other foreign legal order. We are certainly prepared to receive light from whatever source it comes but we have to build up our own jurisprudence…..[w]e in India cannot hold our hands back and I venture to evolve a new principle of liability which English Courts have not done."
- Unfortunately, most Indians feel it is better to accept the injury and move on instead of investing the time, effort, and cost involved in pursuing an uncertain remedy through tort law and the courts.