Public Nuisance vs Private Nuisance Q4

Explain the differences between Public Nuisance and Private Nuisance.

(20 marks, 2018 Q4)


Similar question was asked in

2016 Q4b

A summary between the differences are extracted from

Public Nuisance:

1. Public nuisance is a crime.

2. It is an infringement of public right.

3. It is interference with the rights of public in general.

4. The lapse of time cannot legalize public nuisance.

5. In the case of public nuisance, a person may bring an action if “special damage or injury” is caused to the plaintiff. In case of Environmental Pollutions-cum Public Nuisance, any person can sue the polluter.

6. As it is a State’s duty, the responsibility lies upon the State to prove the interference of defendant.

Private Nuisance:

1. Private nuisance is a civil wrong.

2. It is an infringement of right of a private person.

3. Private nuisance is interference with the rights of a particular person.

4. In due course of time under certain circumstances the nuisance may be legalized under the Law of Prescription.

5. In case of private nuisance, the injured person may bring an action.

6. The plaintiff must prove interference with his enjoyment of land.


A case of drug infested apartment can be a private and at the same time, a public nuisance to the neighbourhood. Hence, it does not mean a public nuisance is more prominent or less prominent than a private nuisance. It is just a classification under tort law.

Further reading is advised at

Difference between “Public Nuisance” and “Private Nuisance” – Explained!