Damages exceeding simple compensation and award to punish the defendant”
Additional compensatory damages or monetary award, ordered by court, paid by defendant to the plaintiff
Punitive damages are awarded only for the purpose of punishing the defendant of his conduct and to deter him from engaging in the same conduct in future.
Punitive damages are also called ‘ exemplary damages’
They are mostly awarded in cases where compensatory damages seem inadequate.
These damages are based on the theory that interests of society and individuals harmed can be met by imposing additional damages on the defendant.
The most common example of punitive damages can be understood from the example where there is a company manufacturing dietary supplements and weight loss products, marketing it as ‘safe’ and ‘organic’ but its consumption lead its consumers to experience hazardous health consequences and illness. In such cases, the mere plans to pull the product off shelves or to alter its advertising campaign are not adequate remedy.
The award of punitive damages thus becomes important because compensatory damages will not be adequate justice.
CASE LAW -
1. ROOKES V. BARNARD
Lord Devlin stipulated that exemplary damages should be awarded “if but only if” the sum of compensatory damages to be awarded had an insufficient punitive or deterrent effect.
The ratio expounded in Rookes V Barnard, was then applied in the landmark judgment of CASSELL & CO LTD V BROOME, in which the decision of awarding punitive damages was further elaborated on the scope of awarding such damage in torts.
2. HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LIMITED V. RECKITT BENCKISER INDIA LIMITED 2014(57) PTC 495 (DEL)(DB) –
Reckittalleged that the HUL’S new advertisement on television, deliberately disparaged Reckitt’s soap (under trademark of DETTOL) with malicious intention and hurting the goodwill and reputation of Dettol. Even though the HC, held that the evidence was not enough for general damages, HUL’s conduct entitled Reckitt for punitive damages.
Bond is a formal written agreement made amongst the parties to perform a certain act or stop from doing an act.