Public Nuisance Vs Private Nuisance

Our neighbors may have gotten in our way on several occasions by "enjoying" the freedom to utilize their own property however they like. Be it loud music, boisterous and packed gatherings, reconstruction projects, etc. One would question their own right to peacefully enjoy their land in the face of all this. While it is conceivable to gain everyone's right to peacefully enjoy their own property, it cannot be done in an absolute way.

Meaning of Public Nuisance

A public nuisance occurs when there is an unreasonable, unjustified, or illegal interference with a right that the general public shares. A public nuisance, put simply, is an action 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. As a result, public nuisances have traditionally been defined as actions that substantially jeopardize the health, safety, comfort, or convenience of the broad public or that tend to erode public morality.

Public annoyances typically fall into one of three categories −

  • Health Nuisances: Pollution, sick insects and animals, ferocious animals, and unprocessed waste or garbage.

  • Moral Irritants: Examples include pornographic public watching, prostitution, and illicit gaming.

  • Drug Nuisances: Examples include illegal drug usage or sales that lower a neighborhood's standard of living and property values. Public nuisance laws are another tool used by many jurisdictions to prevent criminal street gang members from engaging in certain activities in particular places.

Who may file a Public Nuisance Lawsuit?

A party that has been harmed may file a criminal complaint against a shamefaced party due to a public nuisance. Nevertheless, these situations might be transferred hastily without any legal action being taken. The majority of the time, state courts have jurisdiction over nuisance cases. However, the federal courts have the final say in cases where the Constitution, specific centralized statutes, regulations, or case law establish the existence of a nuisance.

A person may have a secluded right of action with respect to a public nuisance under the following circumstances −

  • He needs to show that there has been specific harm done to him beyond what the general population has experienced.

  • The harm must appear to be significant in nature.

Meaning of Private Nuisance

Private nuisances are those in which one person's personal use or enjoyment of his property is ruined by another. It might also physically destroy the owner's property or prevent them from enjoying it, which would be harmful to them.

Essentials of Private Nuisance

Private annoyance requires the following components, which are essential −

Unreasonable Interference

Interference that harms the plaintiff's property or causes the plaintiff any inconvenience while using the property for its intended use. Not every interruption qualifies as an annoyance. The interference must be unreasonable to qualify as a nuisance.

Intrusion with the Routine or Enjoyment of Land

This interference may be brought on by the following factors −

  • Injury to Property: It will be considered a nuisance when someone enters someone else's property without authorization and damages it with tangible or intangible materials.

  • Interfering with the Right to Sustenance Buildings and Land: A person has a natural right to have his neighbor support his land, therefore taking away any support—lateral or beneath—is considered an annoyance. This inherent right is solely applicable to land and not to structures.

  • Injury to Comfort or Health: A nuisance is considered to exist when there is significant disruption to the ease and comfort of using the property. Even a minor interruption would not be sufficient. Only then would it be deemed


It must be established that damage has been caused as a result of the nuisance, unlike trespass, which gives rise to legal action. A person will only be eligible for exceptional damages in the event of public harm if he can show that his personal suffering has exceeded that of the wider public. The law frequently assumes damage in cases of private nuisances, despite the fact that it is one of the necessary elements.

What Individuals may make Claims?

A claim for a private nuisance must be made by a claimant who has a stake in the property where the nuisance is located. An individual must own the property or have some sort of claim to it in instruction to have an "interest in land." Anyone with a stake in the property—owners, leaseholders, or tenants—can file a private nuisance complaint.

This is reflected in the regulation stating that in order to file a lawsuit for a private nuisance, the plaintiff must have an interest in or exclusive control of the affected property. A person who has exclusive ownership of land is essentially considered to have an interest in it.

Difference Between Public Nuisance and Private Nuisance

The given table highlights the major differences between public nuisance and private nuisance −

Public NuisancePrivate Nuisance
The IPC's Section 268 declares that public nuisance is a crime. It refers to any unlawful deed or omission that harms, obstructs, puts the public at risk, or even annoys the public. Any unlawful act or omission that endangers or threatens a person or his property in particular is referred to as a "private nuisance."
It affects the public at large.It affects only Individuals or determinate body thereof.
Anyone who is motivated by or involved in public affairs may file a lawsuit.A private person who suffers a loss of property, or his legal representative, may file a lawsuit.
Remedy: Prohibition against engaging in or omitting any criminal activity.Injunctions and may also be used to seek damages.


Due to conflicting uses of property that frequently caused a nuisance to one another and rising litigation costs, the law of nuisance was difficult to enforce in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result, the majority of governments now have a system of land use planning (such as zoning) that outlines the kind of activities that are permitted in a specific area. In most cases, zoning rules out annoyance. In a similar way, contemporary environmental laws are an adaptation of the doctrine of a nuisance to current complex societies, in that a person's use of his property may adversely affect another person's property or person even though they are far from the nuisance activity and stem from causes that are difficult to incorporate into traditional understandings of nuisance law.


Q1. How is public annoyance a crime?

Ans. Although it is illegal, public nuisances occasionally give rise to tort claims. If an annoyance "materially affects the reasonable comfort and convenience" of a group of individuals, it is applicable. Claimants must demonstrate that their damages were unique from those sustained by the impacted group.

Q2. Why is legal remedy being important?

Ans. Because these matters are complex for the litigants, handling legal remedies is essential. Therefore, any rights could be forfeited as a result. Because of the need for the parties to civil disputes to participate actively in court proceedings and the application of legal remedies, both before and after the first instance court.

Q3. What is Abatement?

Ans. A legal proceeding is abated when a defendant files a claim that stops the plaintiff from pursuing their lawsuit at that particular time or in that particular format.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023

3K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started