Q. The defendant a returning officer, wrongfully refused to register a duly tendered vote of the plaintiff, who was a qualified voter. The candidate for whom the vote was sought to be tendered was however elected and no loss was suffered by the rejection of plaintiff’s vote. Plaintiff sues defendant for damages. The defendant argues that the plaintiff is not entitled to damages because he suffered no harm. Decide.
Ans: Plaintiff is entitled to damages – Ashby v. White, (1703) 2 Ld Raym 938.
Reasons: One of the important maxims of law of torts is ‘Injuria Sine Damno’. It means injury without damage i.e., violation of absolute private right, legal right without harm. In tort an aggrieved party is entitled to damages if his legal right is violated even though he suffers no actual loss.
Facts of this problem have been taken from the leading case of Ashby v. White. In this case court applied the maxim ‘Injuria Sine Damno’ and held that plaintiff is entitled to recover damages from the defendant as his legal right (right to vote) was violated even though the plaintiff not suffered actual loss because the candidate to whom the plaintiff wanted to vote, was elected.
From the above discussions it is clear that in the given problem plaintiff is entitled to recover damages from the defendant because his legal right i.e., right to vote was violated and it is immaterial that he suffered no loss from the act of the defendant.
Source: Kishor Prasad, Problems and Solutions on Civil Law