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Remedies in Tort


Remedies in Tort
Remedies in Tort

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When someone suffers harm or injury due to the actions or negligence of another party, they seek not only justice but also reparation for the losses incurred. 



Remedies in tort law encompass a range of solutions aimed at providing compensation, restoring the injured party to their pre-injury state as much as possible, and deterring future misconduct. 



From monetary compensation to injunctions and beyond, these remedies serve as the backbone of tort law, striving to balance fairness, accountability, and the protection of individual rights. 



Damages


Damages constitute the paramount remedy available to the plaintiff subsequent to the commission of a tort. They manifest in various forms: primarily compensatory, as the civil law aims to recompense the aggrieved party for incurred losses.



In exceptional circumstances, exemplary, punitive, or vindictive damages may be granted. These go beyond mere material loss, serving to deter similar transgressions in the future. 



In instances where the plaintiff suffers no tangible loss despite the infringement of their legal rights (injuria sine damno), nominal damages are dispensed, as seen in the case of Ashby v. White.



Contemptuous damages may also be awarded, reflecting a minimal compensation when the court deems the plaintiff's claim unworthy, such as when the defendant's battery stems from offensive remarks by the plaintiff.



Moreover, prospective damages, catering to future losses, may be granted. Since only one action is permissible, and the law prohibits multiple suits for the same cause, compensation for likely future losses is admissible. 



For instance, if a seven-year-old sustains permanent injury in an accident necessitating a surgical shoe for mobility, compensation is warranted, as upheld in Subhash Chander v. Ram Singh. 



Additionally, recompense can be sought for personal injury, pain, suffering, and loss of life's pleasures. Potential loss of income due to incapacity or reduced work capacity is also recoverable.



In the case of Klaus Mittelbachert v. East India Hotels Ltd. (1997), a German pilot, aged 30, lodged at a 5-star establishment in New Delhi, suffered severe injuries, paralysis, and eventual demise due to a dive into a defective swimming pool on the premises.



The aftermath included an inability to pursue employment, considerable pain and suffering, and substantial medical expenses. A compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs was awarded, with the understanding that the elevated charges of a 5-star hotel necessitated a commensurately higher compensation.



Similarly, in Laxminarayan v. Sumitra Bai (1995), the defendant deceived the plaintiff, enticing her into a sexual relationship under false promises of marriage. Upon the plaintiff's pregnancy, the defendant reneged on his commitment.


The plaintiff was deemed entitled to significant compensation for physical anguish, loss of dignity, diminished marriage prospects, and societal ostracism.



Regarding accident benefits like disability pensions or insurance payouts, it's generally held that such sums should not be subtracted from the compensation owed. This principle is grounded in the fact that the injured party likely contributed premiums toward securing these benefits, not with the intention of benefiting the wrongdoer by reducing their compensation.



A reduction in life expectancy due to injury warrants compensation. If the injured party passes away before claiming such compensation, their legal representatives may pursue it on behalf of the estate.



Under the Fatal Accidents Act, certain dependents of the deceased have the right to seek compensation. This is limited to the spouse, parents, and children, with siblings excluded from eligibility. 



Notably, the English counterpart of this legislation extends compensation eligibility to a broader range of dependents, including siblings, uncles, aunts, and their offspring.



It's argued that the Indian Act's restrictions are outdated and warrant revision to align with principles of social justice, ensuring all potential dependents in a joint family context are covered.




Assessment of Dependency


Assessment of dependency value encompasses various theories, each with its considerations and challenges.



Interest Theory suggests calculating compensation based on the interest from a fixed deposit that would generate an income equivalent to the loss of dependency. However, this method faces practical hurdles.



Firstly, due to inflation, the interest accrued may not suffice to cover future losses adequately. Secondly, factors like illiteracy and lack of financial acumen may hinder the claimant's ability to make sound investment decisions with the received compensation.



Multiplier Theory, on the other hand, involves assessing future losses by multiplying the expected annual loss by a multiplier representing the duration of the anticipated loss.


For example, if the monthly loss to dependents amounts to Rs. 150, projected over 15 years, the compensation could be Rs. 27,000 (Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Subhagwanti). The age of the deceased and dependents often influences the choice of multiplier. 



For instance, in Gangaram v. Kamla Bai, multipliers of 12 and 4 were applied for individuals aged 39 and 61, respectively. Similarly, in Ishwar Devi v. Union of India, a multiplier of 20 was used for a widow and children, while a multiplier of 5 was applied for elderly parents.



Concerning lump-sum compensation, deductions ranging from 10% to 25% may be made due to expected benefits.



Payments like gratuity, family pension, and insurance money received by dependents are typically not deducted from the compensation payable.



This is because the deceased may have contributed to securing these benefits, with no intention for the tortfeasor to benefit from them. Additionally, some payments may have been received regardless of the occurrence of the incident.



In cases where the plaintiff's spouse dies due to negligence, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for the monetary loss incurred in replacing the services provided by the deceased spouse. Moreover, compensation for the loss of consortium (i.e., companionship and services) of the deceased spouse can also be claimed.



The possibility of the widow's remarriage may affect the assessment of damages. While in England, legislation prohibits factoring in the likelihood of remarriage when determining damages, India lacks such provisions, allowing for consideration of remarriage in assessing compensation.



Injunction


Injunctions serve as court orders mandating the performance or prevention of specific acts.



They come in two main forms: temporary and perpetual. A temporary injunction remains in effect until a specified time or until further directives from the court, while a perpetual injunction permanently restrains the defendant from asserting certain rights or engaging in acts contrary to the plaintiff's rights.



Further, injunctions can be either prohibitory or mandatory. Prohibitory injunctions prevent the defendant from engaging in actions that would infringe upon the plaintiff's lawful rights. Conversely, mandatory injunctions compel the defendant to undertake specific actions.



For instance, an order to halt construction of a wall constitutes a prohibitory injunction, whereas an order to demolish an existing wall constitutes a mandatory injunction.



Specific Restitution of Property


Specific Restitution of Property involves the court ordering the return of movable or immovable property to the plaintiff if they have been wrongfully dispossessed of it.



Extra-Judicial Remedies


In addition to judicial remedies such as damages, injunctions, and specific restitution of property, individuals may resort to extra-judicial remedies. These remedies, obtained outside the court system, rely on self-help and personal action. They include re-entry of land, recaption of chattels, distress damage feasant, and abatement of nuisance.


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