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Soha Lal and anr. Vs. Amba Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in69Ind.Cas.685
AppellantSoha Lal and anr.
RespondentAmba Prasad and ors.
Excerpt:
trespass - damages, nature of--damages, special; when awarded--damages, measure of, in contract and tort. - - the defendant endeavoured to justify the trespass and failed, and thereupon the plaintiff succeeded in obtaining a declaration and injunction which should have been limited to the date of the expiration of the lease, namely, the 18th april 1921, but the lower appellate court dismissed the plaintiff's suit altogether on the ground that the plaintiff's cause of action expired on the 18th of april 1921 and that the decree granted by the trial court was in excess of the relief claimed and that the plaintiffs were no longer entitled on the date of the appellate court's decree to the relief for which they sued. this is clearly wrong......of the case, dismissed his claim for damages altogether. this is clearly wrong. damages for trespass are at large, but at least the plaintiff is entitled in every case to nominal damages. if a defendant makes a bona fide mistake a court ought to be content to award nominal damage, but if a defendant takes a risk which he knows to be a risk and persists in fighting when he knows or ought to know that be i wrong, his conduct ought to be measured, in some way, by the special damages which the court is entitled to award. the measure of damages in contrast is quite different to that in tort. in contrast the plaintiff can only recover the actual pecuniary loss. in tort he is entitled to special damages for trespass to property. circumstances may aggravate the plaintiff's grievance, and can.....
Judgment:

1. This appeal must be allow ed. The learned Judge has jumped too soon and tried to out things rather fine. It is quite true that the decree drawn up went too far in granting the plaintiff a permanent injunction. The plaintiff was never entitled to an injunction beyond the 18th of April 1921, nor did he claim it. All that he wanted was relief--it might be only sentimental--against an actual trespass by the defendant. The defendant endeavoured to justify the trespass and failed, and thereupon the plaintiff succeeded in obtaining a declaration and injunction which should have been limited to the date of the expiration of the lease, namely, the 18th April 1921, but the lower Appellate Court dismissed the plaintiff's suit altogether on the ground that the plaintiff's cause of action expired on the 18th of April 1921 and that the decree granted by the Trial Court was in excess of the relief claimed and that the plaintiffs were no longer entitled on the date of the Appellate Court's decree to the relief for which they sued. Anything which had happened altering the relationship of the parties after the decision of the First Court had nothing to do with the rights of the plaintiff under his lease while subsisting when the suit was brought. The case must go back to the Appellate Court to decide on the merits. We say nothing about the questions which the defendant, who appealed, may still desire to fight but we think we ought to say that if the plaintiff turns out, in the opinion of the Court of Appeal, to be right, then that Court ought to reconsider the view taken by the Munsif as regards damages. The Munsif, while accepting the plaintiff's view of the case, dismissed his claim for damages altogether. This is clearly wrong. Damages for trespass are at large, but at least the plaintiff is entitled in every case to nominal damages. If a defendant makes a bona fide mistake a Court ought to be content to award nominal damage, but if a defendant takes a risk which he knows to be a risk and persists in fighting when he knows or ought to know that be i wrong, his conduct ought to be measured, in some way, by the special damages which the Court is entitled to award. The measure of damages in contrast is quite different to that in tort. In contrast the plaintiff can only recover the actual pecuniary loss. In tort he is entitled to special damages for trespass to property. Circumstances may aggravate the plaintiff's grievance, and can only be dealt with by some special sum which is awarded partly as a solarium and partly in terrorem to the other persons who may be disposed to act as the defendants have done.

2. As regards costs we think the right order will be to make the costs of the appeal abide the result. We remand the case with that direction.


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