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Volenti non fit injuria

Meaning: That to which a man consents cannot be considered an injury.

Section 87 and 88 of Indian Penal Code 1860 embodies this principle.

This maxim applies principally to those cases where a man suffers an injury for which he has a claim for compensation, but which claim he is considered as waiving by acquiescing in, or not objecting to, the injury committed ; as, when a man connives at or condones the adultery of his wife, he cannot in' such case obtain damages from the seducer, nor sustain a petition for divorce. Or, where a man is a joint-contributor to the injury he has received ; as, where it has resulted partly from his own, and partly from another's negligence. It applies also to voluntary payments, voluntary releases and relinquishment of rights, and indeed to all those acts which a man does, or consents to, whereby he receives some injury, or loses some benefit which he might, by the exercise of his own free will and discretion, have avoided.

A man cannot complain of an injury which he has received through his own want of prudence and foresight. He cannot recover damages for an injury which, but for his own negligence or wrongful act, would not have happened. Therefore, damages cannot be recovered against a railway company for injuries to persons trespassing upon the line of railway, even though there should have been negligence in the management of the train. Nor can a man recover damages for injuries sustained by him in committing a trespass ; as by climbing up to get into a cart ; or by tumbling into a hole in his neighbour's field. Nor for injuries sustained by him in running against an obstruction negligently placed in the road by the defendant, if he were riding at an improper rate, or was intoxicated, or could have avoided the injury by riding with ordinary and proper care.

But this contributory negligence will not disentitle a plaintiff to recover damages unless it were such, that, but for that his negligence, the negligent act causing the injury would not have happened ; nor, if the party complained of might, by the exercise of due care on his part, have avoided the consequences of the carelessness on the part of the plaintiff. Thus, where a man negligently left an ass in a public highway, tied together by the fore-feet, and the defendant carelessly drove over and killed it, in the daytime, the ass being unable to get out of the way : it was held that the misconduct of the plaintiff in leaving the ass in the highway was no answer to the action, the defendant being bound to go along the road with care ; as, were it otherwise, a man might justify driving over goods left in the street ; or over a man lying there asleep ; or against a carriage going on what is commonly called the wrong side of the road. Where one has wrongfully taken possession of the property of another and converted it to his own use, the owner may either disaffirm the act and treat him as a wrongdoer, or he may affirm his act and treat him as his agent ; but, if he have once affirmed his act as agent, he cannot afterwards treat him as a wrongdoer.

So it is as to any right of action or defence to an action which a man has, and which he chooses tc relinquish ; as a right of action for a debt for which a creditor chooses to accept a composition ; a right of action by a tenant for an illegal distress ; a right of action for trespass or other injury ; a defence under the Statute of Limitations ; a right of way, or an easement of air, light, or other like privilege, the benefit of all of which rights a man may if he will, waive or relinquish, though to his own injury.

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