DE MINIMIS NON CURAT LES

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MEANING: The law does not concerns itself with trifles.

EXPLANATION:this is a common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgement of extremely minor transgressions. According to this principle a reasonable or prudent man will not initiate judicial proceedings for insignificant trivial issues. The Doctrine is applied by the courts when the issue of law suit is not worthy of judicial interference or trial.

Section 95 of IPC also associated with the same principle that no person of ordinary sense and temper good compliant such slight harms and thus separates it from category of offences.

ILLUSTRATION: If Sanjay Dutta makes in anger throws away his friendDarshan Chawal’s phone and it’s screen breaks then such minor issues would not be entertained by courts.

CASE:

Mohd. Israil And Another vs Nausaba A Sabari And 5 Ors. on 12 September, 2016

The principle of “De minimis non curat lex” means that “the law does not concern itself about trifles”. Thus, the question is if the shortage in deposit (as per Sec. 17 of The Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887) can be ignored by applying the said principle.

The Division Bench explaining the principle observed that where the shortfall in deposit is of a negligible amount the aforesaid principle can be applied and the shortfall may be ignored. What would be a negligible amount would depend upon the facts of each case. In the above case before the Division Bench the tenants were required to deposit pendente lite and future damages at the rate of `.1,000/- per month but they deposited only at the rate of `.700/- per month. The Court refused to apply the above principle as the shortfall was not held to be of trivial amount.

Dhingra Mechanical Works vs Commissioner Of Sales Tax on 2 November, 1971,  (1972 29 STC 238 All)

In the instant case assessee was a dealer in iron furniture and other furniture goods. The assessment year involved was 1964-65. The assessee filed an appeal against the assessment, order. The assessee had admitted the liability to tax to the extent of Rs, 2,583.56, but he deposited a sum of Rs. 2,583.53. Thus there was a shortage of three paise.

The Allahabad High Court held- “The shortage is only of three paise which is much too trivial to be taken notice of. There is a well-known maxim de minimis non curat lex which means that the law does not take notice of trifles.”

“The infraction of law is too small and insignificant to be taken notice of. The omission to pay another three paise should have been overlooked and the assessee should have been held to have discharged his liability of admitted tax.”

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