1) Introduction -

          Section 91 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) provides for filing a suit in the case of public nuisance or wrongful act affecting the public at large.  Nuisance is nothing but an act or omission which causes common injury, danger or anions to the public or the people in general to their enjoyment in respect of their properties.

2) What is Public Nuisance? 

The expression "Public Nuisance" has not been defined in the civil procedure code.

       The word 'Nuisance' is derived from the French word 'nuire' and the Latin word 'nocere'  which means to do hurt or to annoy. .Blackstone describes Nuisance as something that "worketh hurt, inconvenience or damage.

       According to Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Public Nuisance Is a Criminal Offence.  It means any illegal act or omission causing injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to Public in general or public at Large.

3) Definition of Public Nuisance -

    A person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right. (Section 268 Indian Penal Code)  

See also...Distinction / Difference between Public Nuisance and Private Nuisance

4) Public nuisances and other wrongful acts affecting the public (Section 91) -

     (1) in the case of a public nuisance or other wrongful act affecting, or likely to affect, the public, a suit for a declaration and injunction or for such other relief as may be appropriate in the circumstances of the case, may be instituted -

       (a) by the Advocate General, or

       (b) with the leave of the Court, by two or more persons, even though no special damage has been caused to such persons by reason of such public nuisance or other wrongful act.

     (2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect any right of suit which may exist independently of its provisions.

 5) Who may Sue?

In case of public nuisance suit may be filed by the advocate general or by two or more persons with the leave of the court. A Suit relating to public nuisance may also be filed by a private person if he has sustained special damage.

6) Remedies available against Public Nuisance - 

A person who commits a public nuisance may be punished under the Indian Penal Code

A suit can be instituted for declaration, Injection or other appropriate relief without proof of special damage

A suit relating to public nuisance may also be filed by a private individual, where he has suffered special damage.

See also

1. What is Stay of suit or Res-Subjudice

2. Difference between Decree and Order

3. Difference between Judgement and Decree

4. Difference between Res Judicata and Res Subjudice

5. The Provisions of Transfer of Suits or Appeal (Civil Procedure Code - Section 22 to Section 25)


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