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UPSC Law Optional Syllabus Analysis- Law of Tort

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

This page analyses the syllabus of Tort Law only in Detail as provided in UPSC law Optional for CSE Mains Examination in detail. Its do not cover Books And online Resources to follow. For that You should Look for other post in the website 

This blog analysis primarily aims at providing you with detail understanding of topic and what to study in individual topic and sub topic within. It also provides generically, type of questioned asked in previous papers.

The detail analysis is done by Aditya Tiwari sir, Who teaches law optional at De Facto IAS. (Previously at Lukmaan IAS) , Delhi. You can ask direct question to him at Quora(link)


Topic-1. Nature and definition

Read its meaning and remember in totality the definition given like of Winfield, Pollock and Denning and its criticism as well. There is very little legislation in the area of tort in India. So mostly case law have to studied that too mostly English cases.

Also read different theories of tort like pigeon hole theories and distinction of tort with crime. there is sometime question in UPSC law optional paper on that as well.


Topic-2. Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability.

Understand the meaning of liability in tort and then study its types. Generally speaking, liability based on ‘fault’ implies that the defendant is liable because of harms caused with an intention or negligence on his part.

A ‘strict’ liability makes the defendant liable for accidental harms caused without any intention and negligence on his part. In other words, sometimes the law recognizes ‘no fault' liability.

Absolute liability principle was innovation of Indian courts in case of hazardous substance and have no exceptions what so ever. Read Bhopal gas case.


Topic-3. Vicarious liability including State Liability

This topic preparation have to be clubbed with topic 2 itself because Vicarious liability is a kind of ‘strict liability’, however, in vicarious liability the liability arises because of the relationship between the principal and the wrongdoer, while in the case of strict liability the liability arises out of the wrong itself

State liability topic is best illustrated in Kasturi Lai Ralia Ram Jaiv State of U.P case. However it have been diluted by various other judgments. Read the meaning of state liability in different context. Generally there is a question on this topic in law optional previous question paper


Topic-4. General defences.

It is long topic and here is the list of general defence in tort which can be studied. the list have been compiled after analysis of law optional UPSC syllabus. There are some general defences, which may be taken against action for a number of wrongs:

(1) Volenti non fit injuria(Defence of Consent).

(2) Plaintiff, the Wrongdoer.

(3) Inevitable Accident.

(4) Act of God.

(5) Private Defence.

(6) Mistake.

(7) Necessity.

(8) Statutory Authority.

(9) Judicial/Quasi-Judicial Acts; Executive Acts.

(10) Acts Done Under Parental Authority.

In law optional UPSC mostly question in previous year comes from 1, 5, 8 and 10. But I will advice read all as upsc law optional paper is known to be unpredictable at times.


Topic - 5. Joint tort fessors

This topic is relatively small and only few things needs to be studied that is meaning of joint tort fessors. All persons who aid, or counsel, or direct or join in the committal of a wrongful act, are joint tortfeasors

And what is the Liability of joint Tortfeasors, wether they can be help severally liable or only jointly. Remember max one case law related to it.


Topic- 6. Remedies

There are only two things needs to be studied in the topic that is type of remedies.

Generally Remedies for torts are of two kinds: Judicial and Extra judicial. Judicialremedies are those which are afforded by the act of law, viz. (1) awarding of damages; (2) granting of injunction; and (3) restitution of property.

Read case law for each of the judicial remedies, you can skip extra judicial remedies. but no harm in looking at it too. There have been less question in upsc law optional tort paper.


Topic- 7. Negligence.

In this topic study, component and its meaning, Negligence has two meanings in law of torts:

(1) Negligence as state of mind

(2) Negligence as a type of conduct

Component of negligence needs to be studied as well. like what are the judicial ration in order the tort of negligence to be applied. Actionable negligence consists in the neglect of the use of ordinary care or skill towards a person to whom the defendant owes the duty of observing ordinary care or skill, by which neglect the plaintiff has suffered injury, to his person or property


Topic- 8. Defamation.

Club this topic with study of defamation with criminal law topic of law optional syllabus. However generally speaking, Defamation is a tort which injures reputation and is therefore actionable.

Read case laws on basis of which the amount of damage awarded will be calculated. it is different in this aspect from criminal defamation.


Topic- 9. Nuisance. 

This topic is very specific although The term ‘nuisance’ has exhaustive and diverse definitions. Nuisance as a tort means an unlawful interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land, or some right over, or in connection with it. Acts interfering with the comfort, health or safety are the examples of it.

Study only case law related to nuisance with respect of property, health and comfort. One case for each will suffice. Also study type of nuisance.

Nuisance is of two kinds: Publicor common nuisance and private nuisance. Public nuisance is a crime (Sec. 268, IPC) whereas private nuisance is a tort or civil wrong.


Topic- 10. Conspiracy. 

Very Short Topic. Only Study its meaning and how it is different conspiracy in tort to conspiracy in crime is. When two or more persons without lawful justification, combine for the purpose of wilfully causing damage to the plaintiff, and actual damage results therefrom, they commit the tort of conspiracy.

However, under criminal law merely an agreement between the parties to do an. illegal act or a legal act by illegal means is actionable; it is not necessary that the conspirators must have acted in pursuance of their agreement.


Topic - 11. False imprisonment

The three chief forms of trespass to person are: Assault, Battery and False Imprisonment. You have to study only false imprisonment. Read its type and component.

Relation between false imprisonment and unlawful detention. How one is legal other is illegal. one is crime for other there is remedy in tort.


Topic - 12. Malicious prosecution.

Malicious prosecution consists in instituting unsuccessful criminal, or bankruptcy, or liquidation proceedings, maliciously and without reasonable and probable cause. When such prosecution causes actual damage to the party prosecuted, it is a tort for which he can bring an action.

study In an action for malicious prosecution what are the essentials. and Distinction between False Imprisonment and Malicious Prosecution.


Topic - 13. Consumer Protection Act 

Read jurisprudential aspect of having such act like, a social measure, designed to safeguard the interest of consumers as against the trading segment of the society. The Act is a measure of sure and swift justice. It brings justice to the door-steps of the consumer.

Read the important definition of the act like ''deficiency'' , ''consumer'' and specifically case laws related to it. There have been question on medical negligence case. wether it come within the meaning of service under consumer laws.

Recently (2019) a comprehensive consumer law have been passed. read its major feature and new provision appended in it.


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