Public nuisance is both a civil wrong as well as a criminal wrong. A person aggrieved by the same can file a suit for damages/compensation in a civil court against the person causing the public nuisance.
In criminal law, public nuisance is defined in section 268 IPC. As per this, a person is guilty of public nuisance –
- who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission
- which causes
- any common injury, danger or annoyance – to the public, or
- to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or
- which must necessarily cause – injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance
- to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.
Generally, negligence gives rise to the nuisance. Depending upon the type of negligence and nuisance, there are various offences specified in Sections 269 to 291 IPC. Several of such offences are cognizable. Thus, a FIR can be registered in respect of these.
The police will then investigate the offence and file its chargesheet in the court of magistrate. Alternatively, a criminal complaint under section 190 CrPC can also be filed directly to the concerned magistrate’s court. It may be noted that almost all these offences are bailable. T
he result of FIR or the criminal complaint is the punishment of the person causing nuisance. Such an action seeks to punish the wrong doer. However, there are special provisions prescribed in the CrPC itself for removal of nuisance. These are provided in Chapter X(B) running from Sections 133 to 148 Cr.P.C.
The main provision is section 133. The power for removal of nuisance is given to the District Magistrate or the S.D.M. or any other authorized Executive Magistrate. If any of these officers, on receipt of the report of a police officer or other information and on taking such evidence ( if any) as he thinks fit, considers that any act or conduct of a person or any thing is causing obstruction, nuisance etc. in any of the manner specified in section 133, then the officer can make a conditional order directing the person causing such obstruction or nuisance to remove it in the manner specified therein. If the offender objects, then he is given show cause notice as to why such conditional order be not made absolute