This judment writing has been written by Praneeth T (2nd-year law student pursuing BALLB from Padala Rama Reddi Law College, Ameerpet – Affiliated to Osmania University.)
State Of Jammu and Kashmir
Citation: AIR 1986 SC 494
Bench: O. Chinnappa Reddy and V. Khalid
Date Decided: 22 November 1985
Appellant: Bhim Singh
Respondent: State of Jammu and Kashmir
In the case of Bhim Singh vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir case, it is considered to be a landmark Judgement given by the Supreme Court. Bhim Singh was an M.L.A. of J & K. He was wrongfully arrested and detained in police custody and was deliberately prevented from attending the sessions of the legislative assembly. There was also a violation of the fundamental right to personal liberty granted under Article 21 of the constitution. In this case, Supreme Court has given a judgment by going through all the hearings and granted compensation to him. Even though, no loss was suffered by detaining him for not attending the Assembly session; he was compensated because his legal right was violated. “Injuria sine damno” means violation of a legal right without causing any loss, harm, or damage to the plaintiff. It is ‘actionable per se’, if any person suffers by losing their legal right which is given, in that case, no need to prove any kind of damage or loss suffered defendant will be held liable. In this case, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir was held liable for wrongful detention and malicious intent of detaining Bhim Singh.
Mr Bhim Singh an MLA of Jammu and Kashmir has deliberately detained him in Police custody for not allowing him to attend the sessions of the legislative assembly to be held on 11th September 1985. He was arrested on an intervening night between 9th and 10th September 1985 by the station house officer of Quiz Kunda police station. On the allegation that a case under section 153A of Ranbir Penal Code was registered against him for delivering an inflammatory/seditious speech at the public meeting held near parade ground, Jammu on 8th September 1985. After being arrested he has not produced before the Magistrate till 13th September, (law says that the arrested person should be produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours excluding the travelling time. Bhim Singh was also a voting session at the assembly and he was not able to vote as he was not allowed to go, where his vote was very crucial but the person to whom he wanted to give the vote won but his legal right to vote was infringed. On the inquiry of the Supreme Court, it was found that Mr Bhim Singh was illegally detained by the police personnel, and was not produced before the Magistrate within the requisite period. It was certainly was a gross violation of the constitutional right of the accused person under Articles 21 and 22(2) of the Constitution. And Supreme Court had been released Bhim Singh and by the way of consequential relief, exemplary damages amounting to Rs. 50,000 were awarded to him.
- Whether the detention was illegal and qualified as false imprisonment?
- Even if a person’s legal right got violated is entitled to claim damages?
- Whether injuria sine damno is applicable? How does it apply and what it is saying?
In the case of Bhim Singh vs State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Ratio Decidendi of the case is Injuria sine damno which actually means violation of legal rights without causing any harm, loss or damage to the plaintiff and even it would not be necessary to prove that as a consequence of an act, plaintiff suffered any harm, it is therefore actionable. The only thing that has to be proved is that the legal right of the plaintiff/petitioner has been violated. In this case the petitioner, Mr Bhim Singh was deprived of his legal rights. He was illegally arrested and detained, therefore preventing him from attending the assembly session and thus, depriving him of his constitutional rights. This has also resulted in the gross violation of the fundamental right to personal liberty, freedom, and life with dignity under Article20 and Article21 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner has also stated that he was not produced before a Magistrate within a requisite period, thus violating Section 56 and Section 76 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. He also stated that he was detained for more than 24 hours, therefore infringing his legal rights and even depriving his freedom. As a result of damages caused by the respondents to the petitioner, the Honourable Supreme Court responded, to pay Rs. 50,000/- to the Bhim Singh as monetary compensation, State of Jammu and Kashmir to pay to Mr Bhim Singh within two months from today. The amount will be deposited with the Registrar of this court and paid to Mr Bhim Singh.
After hearing and recognizing the bad intention, knowledge of restraint, Complete deprivation of personal liberty, and the unlawful act committed by the Police authorities; Supreme Court had been released Bhim Singh, and by way of consequential relief, exemplary damages were awarded by the Court. The Supreme court stated that detaining a person wrongfully leads to violation of Article 21 and Article 22(2) of the constitution if anyone is deprived by their fundamental right or inherited right or the legal right is damaged or violated by any act in that case defendant will be held liable, the maxim “Injuria sine damno” will be applied if any legal rights of a person get violated, plaintiff doesn’t need to suffer some loss or harm or damage, only the question is whether his legal right or the fundamental right which is given got violated, then it is actionable per se, i.e., actionable without the proof of any harm, loss, or damage to the plaintiff. The appellant will be awarded exemplary damages to him.
- Conclusion –
We can conclude that preventing someone from exercising his/her rights freely by illegally detaining the person is a cause of false imprisonment and is a gross violation of their fundamental rights. To protect these rights, the Constitution has provided us with writ remedies that are enforceable by the High Courts and the Supreme Court. These rights are often violated by government authorities, although in some cases private parties are also involved in the misuse of a higher power. If any person is about to be falsely arrested or imprisoned then he can use reasonable force to prevent false arrest. The restrained person can use the force for self-defence but it is necessary to make sure that the force used is reasonable according to the circumstances. Violating someone’s legal rights is said to be actionable per se.
 A.I.R 1986 S.C. 494.