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This article is written by Ganji Sneha of Sri Padmavati Mahila University, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh of BALLB of 4th Year of 7th Semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


We all live in a world, where everything revolves around the law. Law is existence since time immemorial. Most of the common people doesn’t know about ‘Law’ due to lack of insufficiency of legal knowledge, but the legal knowledge and language is a chief component of law involving complexity. Legal language has conservative and somewhat steady. It uses outdated grammar and sentence formation structures. One of the most important parts of legal language is “legal maxims”. Legal maxims are formed with words and phrases that are mainly composed of Greek and Latin words, which makes it complicated for a common man to understand. Thus, requiring to provide proper legal education. In general, legal maxims are used in various branches of law including this tort law.

Both the legal doctrines of “Injuria Sine Damnum” and “ Damnum Sine Injuria” are fundamental concepts in tort law that addresses the relationship between harm and legal wrongs. “ Injuria Sine Damnum” signifies a “ violation of legal rights without any damage, loss, or money, has a legal remedy for plaintiff”. In the other hand, “ Damnum Sine Injuria” signifies a situation where “ damages without violation of legal rights, here there is no legal remedy for plaintiff”.

These two maxims serve as guiding principles in tort law, aiding in the assessment of cases involving harm and loss. Here, the interplay between legal injury and financial damage forms a critical axis in determining the legitimacy of claims, highlighting the complex relationship between the violation of legal rights and ensuring financial consequences. In circumstances, where ‘ harm, injury, and loss’ are interconnected with the complex legal system, it is essential to comprehend and apply these concepts.

The topic of this research article mainly covers delves into a major and one of the most important in torts are ‘ Constituents( essentials) of Torts’ and those two crucial legal maxims i.e., Injuria Sine Damnum and Damnum Sine Injuria. Further, it goes on analysing and explores the nuances of these maxims it’s meaning, definitions, discussing their historical evolution and the role they played in tort law, and their contemporary relevance in the present context of evolving legal principles. Understanding the difference between these maxims and is playing vital role in assessing and addressing grievances in the legal system, as it helps to maintain a balance between individual rights and societal interests, while to achieve justice and fairness. And the study’s conclusions indicate that, if a person’s legal rights has been violated without any damages has a legal remedy provided.


Civil Wrong, Criminal Wrong, Legal Language, Complexity, Injuria Sine Damnum, Damnum Sine Injuria, Tort, Legal Remedy, Legal Damages, Infringement, Legal Rights, Justice.


The subject ‘ Law of Torts’ is one of the most important branches of law, which owns it’s origin to the common law of England. The subject is well developed in UK, USA and other advanced countries. But in India, it is in process of development. It is not codified like, other branches of law, for example, The Indian Contract Act, of 1872 and The Indian Penal Code, of 1860 etc. In the absence of codified law, the Indian courts may apply the principles of ‘ Justice, Equity and Good conscience’. However, there are several special legislations to support the progress and development of torts in India. Notable among them are, the Motor vechiles act, 1988, Consumer Protection Act, 1986, fatal accidents act, 1955 and Workmen’s compensation act, 1923 etc.

The term ‘ tort’ means ‘ to twist’. A tort is a civil wrong, which is not exclusively a breach of trust or breach of contract which gives arises to injury or damage to another party. The nature of civil wrong is different from criminal wrong. In civil wrong, the injured party institutes civil proceedings against the wrongdoer and is eligible for compensation, is mainly in the form of money. Whereas, in criminal wrong the criminal proceedings are brought by state against the wrongdoer and the injured party is not eligible for compensation.

The law of tort is a vital component of the legal system, serving to address loss and provide remedies for individuals who have suffered from damage or injury, due to wrongful actions of others. The law of tort encompasses a wide range of legal principles and rules which govern personal injury, property damage, and loss of money claims. These claims is called “ torts”, can be categorized into two main maxims: Injuria Sine Damnum and Damnum Sine Injuria.

‘ Injuria Sine Damnum’ and ‘ Damnum Sine Injuria’ are two essential legal concepts that delve into the realm of law of tort addressing the complexities of damages and injury in legal contexts.

“ Injuria Sine Damnum” refers to a situation, where if a person’s legal rights are violated without any damages or monetary loss to plaintiff. This concept emphasizes that a person can claim damages for infringement of legal rights, regardless of whether any direct loss or financial damage has been occurred.

 On the other hand, “ Damnum Sine Injuria” refers to a situation, where there is an actual damage or loss has been suffered by the plaintiff, but there is no infringement of legal rights. In such cases, the plaintiff has no right for claiming legal remedy.[1]

The law of tort is a collection of all circumstances, in which the court gives a remedy to the injured party, for legally unjustified damage or injury caused by one party to another. Every wrongful act is not a tort, to constitute a tort there must be three conditions must be satisfied, then it is considered as tort, they are:

  1. There must be an act or omission on the part of defendant,
  2. That act or omission should be in violation of legal rights of plaintiff,
  3. The wrongful act or omission done by the defendant, then only eligible for claiming a legal remedy.


The expression “ Tort” is of French origin. It is derived from the ‘ Latin’ word “ tortum”, which means “ to twist”. In English word ‘ wrong’.

The expression ‘wrong’ of two kinds, namely:

  • Public wrong
  • Private wrong

Public wrong: All acts, which are identified to be punishable under the Indian penal code,1860 are called offences, crimes or public wrongs and are tried in criminal courts.

Private wrong: The rest are called private wrongs and are tried in civil courts.

The term “ Tort” literally means, “ A wrongful act committed by a person, causing injury or damage to another, there by the injured institutes( files) an action in civil court for a remedy viz, unliquidated damages or injunction or restitution of property or other available relief”.

The expression ‘ unliquidated damages’ means “ the amount of damages to be fixed or determined by the courts”.

The tort has been explained in the chambers dictionary: Tort is any wrong or injury not arising out of contract for, which there is remedy by compensation or damages.

The person, who commits the tort is called “ wrongdoer”.

The other person who suffered from injury or damage is called “ injury or aggrieved”.


It is very difficult to define the term tort. However there are several thinkers given their definitions given below:

Winfield definition

According to prof. Winfield, tort liability arises from the breach of a duty primarily, fixed by law this duty is towards the persons. Generally, and it’s breach is redressable by an action for unliquidated damages.

Salmond’s definition

Salmond also tried to give more elaborative and comprehensive definition of tort as a ‘ civil wrong for which the remedy is common law action for unliquidated damages and which is not exclusively breach of contract, breach of trust or equitable obligation’.

Fraser definition

‘A tort is an infringement of a legal right of a private individual, giving a right of compensation to the injured party’.


The nature of tort can be better understood by distinguishing between the following:

  • Tort and Crime
  • Tort and breach of contract

Differences between Tort and Crime: Blackstone defines, crime as an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law either for bidding or commanding it. It is an offence against the public.

                 Tort                Crime
It is a private wrong of an individual.It is a public wrong, which violates the rights and duties of public.
 person, who commits tort is called tort- feasor or wrongdoer.The person who commits crime is called “ offender or criminal”.
It is a tort. In tort law, the civil action is brought by injured party himself.In crime, the proceedings are conducted in the name of the state.
Whatever amount paid for tortious act in the form of compensation goes to the injured party.The amount of fine imposed, in criminal cases goes to government treasury.
The place of trial is in civil court.The place of trial is in criminal court.
The remedy of tort is unliquidated damages.The remedy is to punish the offender.

Differences between Tort and Breach of Contact:[2] Trust is the branch of the law of property. Section 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines Contract as ‘an agreement which is  enforceable by law’. In a contract both the parties have obligations. If one party fails to fulfill the contractual obligation, it amounts to “ breach of contract”. Then the other party files a suit in the civil court to enforce the agreement.

               Tort       Breach of Contact
Rights and duties in tort are created by law.Rights and duties in contract are created our of an agreement between the parties.
In tort, the duty is towards every person if the community or society.In contract, the duty is towards specific persons or person.
A tort is committed against or without consent.A contract is based on the consent of the parties.
It is a violation of right in rem i.e., against world at large.A breach of contract is a violation of right in personum i.e., against parties to the contract.
The remedy of tort is civil action for unliquidated damages, injunction, etc.In civil action the remedy, for specific performance of the contract or liquidated damages.
Law relating to tort has not been codified by law.Law relating to contacts has been codified.


The scope of law of torts can be explained with reference to the following are:

  1. Tort is a civil wrong causing injury to legal rights of another person,
  2. It results in breach of duty, primarily fixed by law,
  3. The duty is breached towards specific persons,
  4. The remedy is an action in civil court for unliquidated damage
  5. Tort is a civil wrong: wrong means ‘ violation of a right recognised by law or administration of justice’. Civil wrong means ‘ A wrong which is tried in civil court’. Civil wrong comes under the head, private wrong which causes injury to one person or group of persons( but not to the public at large or society as a whole, as in case of a public wrong, which is known as crime or offence).

Tort belongs to the category of civil wrong. In case of a civil wrong, the injured party( plaintiff) institutes civil proceedings against the wrongdoer(defendant), in such case the main remedy is ‘ damages given to the plaintiff’. The plaintiff is compensation taken from the defendant for the injury caused to him by the defendant.


To constitute tort, the wrongful act must come under the category of wrongs for which the remedy is a civil action for damages. There may be other remedies also such as, injunction, specific restitution and recovery of the property itself. But it is the right to damages that brings a wrongful act, within the category of torts. Therefore, tort and damages are closely interrelated with each other.

  1. Duty primarily that fixed by the law: The basic principle of tort liability is that the duty comes first must be fixed by the law itself, and not by the agreement of the parties. Therefore, parties cannot create tortious liability by contract and also it cannot be negatives by them. For example, I am under a legal duty not to trespass on others land. Now, this duty has primarily fixed by the law, on me and has not been created between the land owner and me through an agreement. By this definition, A person who commits a breach of duty himself is held liable. But in tort there are cases where a person has not committed a breach of duty himself is held liable.
  2. Duty is towards persons generally: The duty in tort is always general and it is an important essential element of tort. The duty is towards specific person or persons, it cannot arise from the tort. For example, we have a duty not to defame others or not trespass upon the land of others.
  3. Action for unliquidated damages: Damages are the pecuniary remedy in an action for tort. It means the payment of compensation to the injured by the wrongdoer.  Here, it is very important to note that the word ‘ damage’ is different from ‘ damages’. Damage means is an injury suffered by the plaintiff. Damages means, compensation which the injured is entitled to get.


When a person commits a tort, thereby another person suffers damage or injury, the injured party can resort to a remedy by instituting a civil action. The injured party who has filed a civil suit is called “ plaintiff or injury” and the other person against whom the suit is filed is called “ defendant or wrongdoer”.

The plaintiff to be successful in his action against the defendant, has to prove the following conditions i.e., the essential elements of liability in tort are as follows:

  1. There must be an act ( or) omission, on the part of defendant.
  2. The act or omission should result in the legal damage, then only claim the legal remedy.
  3. Wrongful Act( Act or Omission): If a person can only be made liable, if he has done some kind of act which he is not expected to do or omitted to do some act, which is supposed to do. A person will be made liable for any ‘ wrongful act’ or an ‘ omission’ which is done illegally.

The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant has committed an act, which he/ she ought to have committed, resulting in wrongful act that amounts to tort.


  • If some one publishes a defamatory statement in the newspaper defaming some other person, then he can be made liable for defamation.
  • If A causes any assault and battery to B, then it is also a wrongful act. Here B’s personal right is violated i.e., The right to bodily safety and freedom.
  • If A causes some damage to the property of B, then it is also a violation of private Right i.e., The right to property. Trespassing into other’s property without taking prior permission is an illegal act.
  • Legal Remedy: The other condition, to make the person liable for the tort is to prove that there has been a legal damage or injury caused to him. The word ‘ damage’ means harm suffered to a person( plaintiff) by the other person ( defendant) as a result of wrongful act or omission.

Under the law of torts, No action is possible until and unless no legal right is violated. Therefore, if there has been violation of legal rights is actionable. There is a maximum i.e., “ Ubi Jus Ibi remedium”, it means where there is a right, there is a remedy.

For presuming the damages, rights are classified into two categories, namely:

  1. Absolute & Qualified
  • Absolute Right: Here, there is no requirement of evidence of damages in case of violation of absolute right. If the absolute right of a person is violated, then the law presumes damage even, if there is no monetary loss is caused to him.
  • Qualified Right: Here, there is requirement of evidence of damage in case of violation of qualified right. If the qualified right of a person is violated, then there is no presumption of damage by law.

There are two legal maxims are important to get more clarity about legal damage


Both the maxims are mainly divided into three parts:

Damnum/ Damno means “ substantial harm, loss or damage with respect to the money”, etc.

Injuria means “ violation of legal rights given by the law to plaintiff”.

Sine means “ without”.

These two maxims fall under the category of qualified rights.


Injuria Sine Damnum= violation of legal rights without damage

Injuria Sine Damnum means,  “ injury without damage or loss”. It means violation of plaintiffs legal rights without any damage, loss or harm. Violation of legal rights without damage has a legal remedy.

This, the above phrase ‘ Injuria Sine Damnum’ means ‘ infringement of legal rights without any damage’. In other words, plaintiffs legal rights are get affected, but he has not suffered any loss or damage. In such a case, the suit is maintainable even though the plaintiff suffers no damage.

There are two kinds of torts

  1. Torts which are Actionable per se( which is actionable, without the proof of any damage): In this case the defendant is held liable simply because he does not a particular act even the plaintiff has suffered not the slight harm. The act of trespassing on another’s land is actionable even though the plaintiff has suffered nothing. Is same in the case of trespass to the person. Even though it is a technical assault, which causes no damage yet it gives rise to a right of action. In such cases the law conclusively presumes as damage.
  2. Torts which are Actionable per se on proof of damage: “ In this, the plaintiff has to prove that his legal right has been violated”. In this case the defendant is held liable only, if in consequence of his act, damage is inflicted on the plaintiff. This slander is in most cases, not  actionable without proof of actual damage.

Therefore, the “ Injuria Sine Damnum” deals with the first kind of tort i.e., torts which are Actionable per se. In such cases there is no need to prove the damages that are suffered by the plaintiff. Only on thing here, which has to proved that plaintiff’s legal rights has been infringed.

Every person has absolute rights and if the violation of these rights is itself actionable.


Case law: Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu and Kashmir[3]: Bhim was an MLA for the state of Jammu and Kashmir state legislative assembly. When he was detained by the police for an illegal detention, when he was going to attend legislative assembly session. His wife filed a Habeas corpus plea to get him release from his deception. But the police was not produced him within the required time before the magistrate court and the police had obtained the arrest secretly, the police working with opposition party people. Here, his fundamental right of Article 21 Right to life and personal liberty( no person shall be deprived of his/ her personal liberty) violated under the Indian constitution.

The supreme court awarded compensatory damages of Rs. 50,000/- to MLA in recognition of his democratic right and also supreme court criticize the concerned police officers for their dishonest behaviour and failure to fulfill their legal obligations.

Case law: Ashby v. White[4]: In this case, the plaintiff( Ashby) was a legally qualified voter. The defendant( White), an election returning officer, maliciously prevented the plaintiff from exercising his franchise. So, the plaintiff sued the defendant even though the candidate, to whom he intended to vote was declared elected. But the office refused. Therefore, the defendant was held liable on the ground that the plaintiffs legal rights was violated.

The supreme court held that, the defendant liable to pay the compensation to the plaintiff for violating the legal rights of plaintiff.


Damnum Sine Injuria= Damage without injury has no legal remedy

Damnum Sine Injuria refers to “ damage without injury”, the plaintiff suffers loss of damage without any injury to his legal right. Hence the plaintiff suit is not actionable by law.

The maxim is based on legal principle which states that, if a person is exercising his ordinary rights within reasonable limit and without violating the other’s legal rights, then such practice is not actionable. The loss can be in the form of substantial harm or damage in respect of money, comfort, health and etc. Therefore, in this case where, if any legal right is violated, the damages are to be provided in that case, whereas in the case where there is no violation of legal rights then no damages or remedies available to the plaintiff.

Damages are usually awarded in law of torts cases, where a legal right has been violated. However, the maxim of Damnum Sine Injuria applies to when there is no legal remedies provided, if legal rights has not been infringed.

Illustration: A opens a fancy shop opposite to B’s fancy shop and the sales in B’s shop get diminished causing loss to B. If B sues A, it is not actionable.


Case law: Gloucester Grammer School  Case[5]: In this case the defendant was a schoolmaster who set up a rival school to that of the plaintiff’s who was also having the school there. Because, of the competition the plaintiff had reduce the school fees 40 pence to 12 pence per scholar per quarter. The plaintiff, plea for the compensation of damages caused to him. The court was held that, there is no legal remedy in the case of damages to the plaintiff because, there was no wrongful act or infringement to the plaintiff’s legal rights by the defendant. Here, no legal rights are violated so there is no remedy to plaintiff.

Case law: Ushaben v. Bhagyalakshmi Chitra Mandir[6]: In this case, in 1970s a film named ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’  was released. The plaintiff, sued the defendant for a permanent injuction to restrain them from exhibiting the film. Because, the film hurt the religious sentiments of the plaintiff in so far as Goddesses of Hindu religion were depicted as jealous. Therefore, the court was that, there is no remedy to the plaintiff.


                Basis onInjuria Sine DamnumDamnum Sine Injuria
                              MeaningViolation of legal rights without causing any damage, loss or harm to the plaintiff, here there is a legal remedy claimed by plaintiff.It means, there is no violation of legal rights of the plaintiff, he has no legal remedy provided.
                          CompensationHere, the plaintiff claims compensation, in form of monetary damages, provided by the court.Here, no compensation is given by the court.
                                      NatureIn Injuria Sine Damnum, the persons legal rights are violated without and damage caused to him.In Damnum Sine Injuria, damage caused to plaintiff but, there is no violation of legal rights of plaintiff.
                              Case lawsBhim Singh v. State of Jammu and Kashmir. Ashby v. WhiteGloucester Grammer School case. Ushaben v. Bhagyalakshmi Chitra Mandir.


Like other branches of law, criminal law, administration law, family law and corporate law, etc. tort law is also one of the most important branches of law. It plays a very crucial and fundamental role in present modern legal system. Tort is a civil wrong that causes harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who has committed the tort. Torts may include the, trespass, negligence, libel, slander, nuisance and many more, etc. where remedy is an award of pecuniary damages. It is not a criminal wrong which includes murder, rape, etc. Here,  where the remedies are form of fine, arrest, or imprisonment, etc. the remedies are mainly provided so that the injured party can restore their original position before the tort has been committed. The legal maxims is an important representation of law. It makes a distinction, from the rest of the society and enhances the authority of legal profession. The two maxims i.e. Damnum Sine Injuria and Injuria Sine Damnum in detail have been discussed in this article.


  1. Blogipleaders, https://blog.ipleaders.in/damnum-injuria/ visited on 30/04/2024.
  2. Legalservicesindia, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1816-damnum-sine-injuria-and-injuria-sine-damnum.html  visited on 01/95/2024
  3. Lawbhoomi,  https://lawbhoomi.com/damnum-sine-injuria/  visited on 01/05/2024
  4. Lawcian, https://www.lawcian.com/post/damnum-sine-injuria-and-injuria-sine-damnum  visited on 02/05/2024

[1] Blogipleaders, https://blog.ipleaders.in/damnum-injuria/ [( Apr 01 2024, 10:00)]

[2] Legalservicesindia, https://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/2584/Constituents-of-Tort.html [( Apr 1 2024, 13:00)]

[3]  Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1985

[4] Ashby v. White, AIR 1703

[5] Gloucester Grammer School, AIR 1410

[6] Ushaben v. Bhagyalakshmi Chitra Mandir, AIR 1978

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