Injuria sine Damnum


This maxim ‘ Injuria sine Damnum ‘ is just opposite to the maxim ‘ damnum sine injuria’ .

The word ‘ damnum ‘ means damage . This damage may be loss of health , loss of service , physical hurt and loss of money or the like . The word ‘ injuria’ means a legal injury or tortuous act or an infringement of legal right . And the word ‘sine ‘means without . So the maxim means that an infringement of any legal right without damage. Where there is infringement of legal right , action lies against that act . Therefore ,if any legal right is infringed , it is immaterial whether any loss is suatained or not , this maxim ‘injuria sine damnum ‘affords right to sue for legal remedy .

According to this maxim whenever there is an invasion of a legal right , the person in whom the right is vested , is entitled to bring an action though he has suffered no actual harm and may recover damages . It is sufficient to show that there is violation of a legal right and the law will presume damage . On the strength of this maxim the libel , assault , battery , false imprisonment and trespass on land or the mere wrongful acts are actionable without proof of special damage .

In India , the same principles have been followed . It is not necessary to show any damage if the legal right is infringed . Violation of a legal right gives rise to a legal action .

As for example , in an interesting American case of Morningstar Vs. Fafayette Hotel Company, the plaintiff , who was a guest at the defendant’s hotel , was fed up with the food served at the hotel , and so , he purchased some spare ribs outside the hotel , and gave them to the hotel chef to be cooked and brought to his room . This was done . But the spare ribs were accompanied by a bill for one dollar which the plaintiff refused to pay . On the following morning , the plaintiff was publicly informed at the table of breakfast that he would not be served . The plaintiff sued for wrongful refusal to serve breakfast to him and the Court held that his legal right had been infringed .

In the famous leading case of Ashbay Vs. White , the defendant , a returning officer at a voting booth , wrongfully refused to register a duly tendered vote of the plaintiff , who was a qualified voter . The candidate for whom the vote was sought to be tendered was elected. So no loss was suffered by the plaintiff for rejection of his vote . The Court held that violation of the plaintiff’s right was an injury to him for which he must have a remedy without proof of actual damage .

In another interesting case of Marzetti Vs. Williams , a Banker having sufficient funds in his hands belonging to a customer refused to honour his cheque .The customer sustained no actual loss or damage . The Court held that the customer’s legal right was infringed and was entitled to damages .