De Minimis Non Curat Lex

“De Minimis Non Curat Lex”.

Literal Meaning

The law does not considers trifling matters.

 Origin

It is the short form of a Latin word ‘De minimis’ meaning ‘about minimal things’

Explanation

The Latin legal maxim means that the law doesn’t govern of trivial matters or ignores insignificant things. It is a common law principle which provides that the judges can avoid very slight irregularities. The reason behind incorporating this maxim is when the matter is too small to be taken into account then the law doe not encourages parties to bring suit as the legal action will waste the time and resources. This does not mean the act becomes right, it is unlawful but would not be punished due to its triviality.

Case Study:-

State (Delhi Administration) vs. Puran Mal,  A.I.R. 1985 S.C. 741.

“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.”

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State of Bihar and Others vs. Harihar Prasad Debuka and Others,  A.I.R. 1989 S.C. 1119.

“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’.”

 Chunilal Jethalal V. Ahmedabad Borough Municipality,  LQ 1939 HC 0544.

“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.

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