Public nuisance and Private nuisance


Blackstone defined a nuisance as something that “ worketh hurt , inconvenience or damages .” The term nuisance has been derived from the French word ‘nuire’ and the Latin word ‘nocere’ which mean ‘ to do hurt or to annoy ‘. Nuisance has been defined to be anything done to the hurt or annoyance of the lands , tenements or hereditament of another and which is not a trespass .

Nuisances are of two types —
i) Public Nuisance and
ii) Private Nuisance .

The distinction between public nuisance and private nuisance may be expressed better in the following tabular form .


  Public Nuisance.
Private Nuisance .
1. With respect to the public nuisance , if the plaintiff does not sustain special damage , an action for damages is not maintainable . But in case of private nuisance , an action for damages is maintainable .
2. In case of public nuisance , an action lies for declaration with a prayer for injunction . But in case of private nuisance , an action for damages lies .
3. One person individually can not sue in his own name for a public nuisance . Private nuisance is actionable only by an individual .
4. Public nuisance can not be legalized by any length of time . But a right to create or continue a private nuisance can by acquired by way of prescription .
5. Public nuisance affects the right , safety or convenience of the public at large or a considerable portion of the public . On the other hand , private nuisance affects right of an individual or a determinate body of persons .
6. A public nuisance can not be abated by any person affected thereby. On the other hand , a private nuisance can be so abated .