A tort may be defined as a civil wrong not arising out of a contract or a relationship based on trust, which is characterized by a violation of the legal right enshrined in others and an action for redressible damages. Hence the aim of torts is to compensate the victim and not punish the wrong doer. Before we undertake a journey into the damages in torts in India it would be prudent to understand the nature of the torts committed and their developments though the ages. This would not only help in understanding the current situation in a clearer manner but may also provide a sense of history about torts.
it is well known that Indian tort law has taken inspiration from england's tort law. therefore in order to widen the scope of this research the researcher shall not only deal with Indian law but also with American law,Californian mainly. the objective of this would be to portray and find out the essences of both eastern and western tort laws. The state of tort law in India is very poor. The people are not properly aware of their legal rights. Thus, the development of torts has been hampered by the lack of awareness. Thus, tort litigation is still in its stages of infancy in India.
India has yet not reached the level of Tort litigation existing in the U. S. A. or the U. K. The highest ever damages paid in a tort case in India is Rs. 50 lakhs. This gives the indication of the level to which tort litigation has developed in India. But times are changing and along with time so is torts. People are becoming far more aware of their rights. Hence, the researcher feels that this particular project has great relevance as it will look at the development of damages in torts in our country where torts are just beginning to play a more dominant role.
DAMAGES, which are, extremely important in practice, are under investigation by the Law Commission of India . Despite the fact that a trial takes place long after the injury2, plaintiff's loss may yet lie mainly in the future. Even so, damages have traditionally been awarded in a lump sum, not subject to adjustment in the light of later developments, though fewer predictions would be necessary if a review able annuity could be awarded, and the victim would be less tempted to waste his winnings. Parliament has introduced provisional damages (Supreme Court Act 1981, s.
32A) so as to permit subsequent developments in the plaintiff's condition to be taken into account if they occur, rather than put in now at a discounted figure, but the "structured settlement" is an invention of lawyers, accountants and taxmen: the defendant's insurer buys, and holds in trust for the victim, an annuity which provides a pension, which may be variable, for a the period or the victim's life, the income from which, unlike the interest received from investing lump-sum damages, is non- taxable, so that all parties (except the Inland Revenue) are better off.
This arrangement cannot be imposed by a judge, though he approves the settlement which contains it. The Damages Bill 1996 confirms and improves the procedure. Damages in torts constitute the "money awarded to the person injured by the tort of another. " Tort damages include nominal damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. The researcher would like to, in the course of this project, make an in depth study into the various kinds of damages awarded in different case situations and in different countries
The researcher would also like to analyze the method for the determination of Damages in certain important cases The researcher would like to analyze the rationality between the various types damages awarded and also to compare those of the punitive and compensatory damages The researcher would also like to analyze the Mitigation or the Doctrine of Avoidable Consequences in relevance to this topic. In order to achieve these objectives, the researcher needs to analyze certain case laws as already mentioned above.
Since the project topic is 'damages in torts', the researcher decided to look at the topic from a historical perspective. Since Torts in India are still not wholly developed, the Indian tort system is based almost entirely o the English system. Thus, India has adopted the British principles and modified them where necessary to fit in with the Indian conditions. The researcher plans to look at the topic from a historical perspective; hence he will be analyzing the history of the development of certain tort principles in damages in India as well as England since it is from England that we have adopted the Principles of tort.
There is one particular tort principle or which the credit goes to India for its development, and that tort principle is absolute liability. This concept was formed by the Indian legal system in response to change in the scenario and the need for greater responsibility. This principle has been adopted by the other countries as well. This is one of India's original contributions to torts. Hence, it is of utmost importance to include it and the case M. C. Mehta v. Union of India though it is outside the ambit of this research. The researcher has also tried to evaluate their importance and added his own views on the tort principle.