Town Area Committee v Prabhu Dayal (AIR 1975 All 132)

In this case, the defendant (municipal Authorities) had demolished the illegally constructed building of the plaintiff; the municipal commissioner was alleged to be an enemy of the plaintiff. The Court rejecting the plaintiff’s contention observed that merely because some officer has malice against a citizen who has committed a wrong will not render the action of authority invalid if it is otherwise legal. In such a case, it is not necessary to investigate whether the action was motivated by malice or not. Held, that the plaintiff has suffered no ‘injuria’ (violation of a legal right).
Winfield has opined that in such cases of abuse of private rights which injures only a private individual, it should be declared a civil wrong under the law of torts. And, in cases of abuse of private rights which directly injures the public in general, they should be penalized under criminal law. It may be noted that this aspect of the law of torts has been criticized as unsatisfactory.
Thus, if a person willfully destroys his own corn or sets fire to his house, there is no legal means to prevent him form doing this act. On the other hand, even a benevolent desire to protect another’s property will not justify any interference with it. IN the case of ‘Tithes imperiled (Kenny’s Case of Torts, P. 376), the defendant put the plaintiffs corn of the harvest lying in the field into the plaintiff’s own barn as it was being eaten by horse. The Court observed that it might very well be that the plaintiff intended to reserve the barn for some other purpose.

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