Definition And Historical Background of Damages Part 2

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Definition and historical background of Damages Part 2


S J Tubrazy

Every violation or infringement of a right confers a right on the injured party to recover compensation. This right is called by the Jurist Salmond as a sanctioning right which is of two kinds, i.e.:-

(i) The right to receive pecuniary penalty;

(ii) The right to exact and receive the damages or other pecuniary compensation.

The British and Indian Laws are unfamiliar with the former kind. The later form of right is most important and relief with this form of right is remedial in its nature. Awarding of compensation to injured party against the wrong-doer is punished by giving penal redress to the injured or simple compensation is given. In either case, the law simply awards compensation to the sufferer. This compensation ‘is awarded in the shape of damages which is awarded according to certain rules which are known as,measures of damages.

Damages are defined as pecuniary compensation recoverable by the process of law by a person who has sustained an injury through the certain act or omission of another. Lexstone in his commentary defined damages as “spices of property i.e. acquired and lost by suit and judgment at law”. The injured party has unquestionably a vague and indeterminate right to some damages. The damages may also be defined as disadvantage suffered by a person as a result of the act or default of another. The basic object of the damages is to compensate the plaintiff for the loss sustained by him. Its main object is to compensate the plaintiff, for all the loss he has suffered so far again as money can do it.

It is to be noted that while considering the topic of damages, two questions arise for determination:-‑

(i) The question of liability i.e. whether damages are due at all or in other words whether the person against whom the complaint was lodged is liable or not for the damages;

(ii) The question as to quantum of damages;

The basic object of the damages is to compensate the plaintiff for all the loss suffered due to the fault of other party. There are two kinds of damages:-‑

(1) General and

(2) Special.


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