Nuisance: Meaning and Definition

According to the law, whoever is in possession of the property has the right to enjoy it freely. The tort of nuisance, on the other hand, is said to have happened when another person's inappropriate use or enjoyment of his property results in an illegal interference with that person's enjoyment or use of that property or with certain rights he may have therein.

What is the Meaning of Nuisance?

"Nuisances are agitations. Unlawful interference with someone's use or enjoyment of land, or of any right over, or in connection with it, may be how it is defined in tort law. A nuisance is when someone's use and enjoyment of land, a right over it, or a relationship to it is unlawfully interfered with.

Hence, it is an injury or annoyance a person experiences when using his property as a result of another person using it in an unreasonable way that harms the former. In order to be considered a nuisance, an act must cause the plaintiff unlawful, unjustified, or unseasonable annoyance or discomfort, as well as harm to their property or interference with their use and enjoyment of their land.

In most cases, a person has the right to use and enjoy their property in its entirety, whether it be tangible, intangible, moveable, or immovable. His legal rights cannot be violated without a valid explanation. If someone unlawfully interferes with this entitlement, they violate the protection offered and are guilty of the nuisance tort.

The term "nuisance" has a stricter definition in law than it does in everyday speech. Although minor annoyances are typically not actionable in law due to typical human interaction in society, none of the inconveniences will be successful in an action for the nuisance.

According to the Indian Criminal Code, a nuisance is an act that regularly causes harm, danger, or annoyance to nearby residents or tenants, or that inevitably results in harm, inconvenience, danger, or annoyance. those who may be able to exercise any public right. A legal remedy exists for any act that is considered a nuisance that is detrimental or offensive to the general public or a member of it.

As a tort, nuisance describes unauthorized interference with someone's use or enjoyment of land, certain rights over land, or some aspect of it. Any type of interference is possible, including sound, vibration, water, smoke, odor, gas, etc.

Elements of Nuisance

The following elements must be present for a nuisance to qualify as a tort that can be pursued −

  • A wrongdoing.

  • The use or enjoyment of land, or some other right over or in connection with the land, has been interfered with as a result of such an act;

  • There must be harm, loss, discomfort, or annoyance to another person as a result of the interference.

Types of Nuisance

Following are the major types of nuisance −

Public Nuisance

A public nuisance is an unfair, unjustified, or illegal interference with a right that the general public shares. In other words, a public nuisance is conduct that affects a sizable segment of the public and must infringe on rights that community members might otherwise be able to exercise. Simply put, a public nuisance is an act that affects the public in general or a sizable section of it, and it must interfere with rights that community members might otherwise be able to exercise.

Hence, actions that substantially jeopardize the general public's health, safety, comfort, or convenience or that tend to erode public morality have long been regarded as public nuisances.

According to Indian law, it is a criminal offence, and no civil action is permitted. A public nuisance is defined as "an act or illegal omission that causes any common injury, danger, or annoyance to the people in general who dwell on or occupy the 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" in Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code.

To qualify as a public nuisance −

  • The plaintiff must establish a specific injury to himself that is greater than the harm experienced by the rest of the public, i.e., he must demonstrate that his damages exceed those that the public as a whole had to endure.

  • If one is blocked but another is left open, this constitutes a direct injury rather than merely a consequential one.

  • The injury must be demonstrated to be substantial in nature and not temporary or transient.

Private Nuisance

A nuisance is deemed a private nuisance when it infringes upon the rights of a single person, individual, or organization. Private nuisance claims typically result from neighborly disputes where one property owner is harmed by the other's behavior. The impacted person now has a "Right in Personam" claim. An illustration would be a neighbor who frequently plays music late at night at a loud volume. A legal case for damages, an injunction, or both may be viable if the act becomes a private nuisance.

Elements of private nuisance are −

  • The involvement must be illegitimate or unreasonable. It is done in such a way that the conduct shouldn't be considered legal justification for any behavior that no reasonable person would carry out.

  • Such interference must affect the use or enjoyment of the land or some rights pertaining to the property, or it must cause discomfort and annoyance to a significant area of land.

  • A private nuisance must result from physical harm to the property.

Remedies for Nuisance

Major remedies are −


If a temporary injunction is issued on an interim basis, it may later be overturned or upheld. It takes the form of a permanent injunction if it is upheld.

Yet, the Court retains discretion over whether to grant an injunction.


Nominal damages, which are awarded to the party who has been wronged; statutory damages, where the amount of damages is set by law and not based on the harm the plaintiff has suffered; and exemplary damages, where the goal of awarding damages is to prevent the wrongdoer from repeating the wrong, are all examples of damages that may be offered to the party who has been wronged.


It refers to the quick resolution of a problem or the elimination of an annoyance by the harmed party without resorting to legal action. The law does not support it, and it is typically not the best course of action. For instance, the plaintiff himself cuts off the branch of the defendant's tree that hangs over his property and annoys him.


About 90 percent of nuisance law is not codified. Nonetheless, it has developed and grown as a result of numerous interpretations and judgments. The idea of a nuisance is one that frequently emerges in a man's daily life, and the decision regarding it must be made on a case-by-case basis to ensure that neither the offended plaintiff nor the defendant suffers needless punishment.


Q1. How can we prevent nuisance especially telephone calls?

Ans. The Telephone Preference Service's free registration is the greatest approach to stopping telemarketers from calling (TPS). They'll add your number to their list of people who don't want to get telemarketer calls.

Q2. What is an action for nuisance?

Ans. A "nuisance" is a phrase used in common law to describe a situation that significantly and unreasonably interferes with a person's ability to use and enjoy their property. A situation must be significant in order to qualify as a nuisance and give rise to legal action. One-off occurrences are rarely sufficient.

Q3. What is a nuisance under CRPC?

Ans. A condition order to eliminate annoyance is provided for under Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. This clause is typically applied in situations where a public nuisance must be eliminated immediately. Simply said, a nuisance is any bodily annoyance or discomfort that interferes with a person's normal level of comfort.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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