De minimis lex non curat – Legal Maxim

Literal Meaning

The law does not notice trifling matters.

Explanation

The Latin legal maxim means that the law does not take notice of trivial matters. It is a common law principle which provides that the judges will not sit in judgment or take notice of extremely minor transgressions of the law. As per this Maxim rationale citizens would deem an appeal for trivial matters an utter waste of time and resources. It will bring the judicial system into disrepute.

Origin

Latin

Illustration

A promised to B that they together will go to watch a movie on Sunday. However, A didn’t turn up at the theatres and B suffered mental trauma and agony. B sued A for damages. Here the court will dismiss the appeal of B as law does not take account of trivial matters.

Case Reference

A. State (Delhi Administration) vs. Puran Mal[1]

The court examined the adulteration of food articles in consideration of this Latin legal maxim and propounded that a food article unfit for human consumption cannot be set to be covered under the rule of de minimis non curat lex.

B. State of Bihar and Others vs. Harihar Prasad Debuka and Others[2]

The checking of documents or the filling in and submission of Forms and returns, detour to a public weighbridge and the like may be an inconvenience, and unless they are shown to be unreasonable and not in public interest the court may apply the maxim ‘de minimis non curat lex’.

C. Chunilal Jethalal V. Ahmedabad Borough Municipality[3]

The learned Judge held, I think rightly, that the words “kept for use within the borough” meant kept for normal use within the borough, and no doubt where a vehicle is kept for normal use outside the borough, an occasional user within the borough could be rejected on the principle of de minimis non curat lex.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference

[1] State (Delhi Administration) v. Puran Mal, A.I.R. 1985 S.C. 741.

[2] State of Bihar and Ors v. Harihar Prasad Debuka and Ors., A.I.R. 1989 S.C. 1119.

[3] Chunilal Jethalal v. Ahmedabad Borough Municipality, LQ 1939 HC 0544.

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I am Amol Verma from Chanakya National Law University, Patna pursuing B.B.A, LL.B (Hons.). Being a first-generation lawyer, the motivation to study law came from its dynamic nature and how it keeps on changing to cater to the needs of society. My areas of interest include the Law of Contracts, Criminal Law, Corporate Law, and IPR. I love to take part in moot court activities, parliamentary debates, and seminars. I am a member of the Academic and Debating Committee of CNLU and CNLU’s Legal Aid Cell. I like to read, research and write on legal issues as it helps me in understanding the practical functioning of law as well as keeps me updated on the recent legal developments.