Jurists have classified legal rights in the following ways –
1. Primary and Secondary Rights
2. Public and Private Rights
3. Positive and Negative Rights
4. Vested and Contingent Rights
5. Perfect and Imperfect Rights
6. Principal and Accessory Rights
7. Legal and Equitable Rights
8. Proprietary and Personal Rights
9. Rights in Rem and Rights in Personam
10. Rights in re Propria and Rights in re Aliena
Primary Rights are also called antecedent rights. It is vested within a person by law or any other legal manner. These are the bundles of those rights which are the privileges enjoyed by any person e.g. a person’s rights to Liberty. A violation or breach of the primary rights, on the other hand, gives rise to a sanctioning right or remedial right.
These are also known as secondary rights. It is also called the remedial or adjectival rights. It is called so as it is a mode of legal enforcement, for the loss of the primary right. It is subdivided into two kinds – 1. Right to exact and receive a pecuniary penalty from the defendant for loss of right and
2. Right to exact and receive damage for the injury caused to the defendant. It can be said that primary rights exists independently whereas secondary rights have no separate existence and arise only on violation of primary rights.
Public and Private Rights
Legal rights can be considered as both public and private. Public rights are those vested with the state. The state enforces such right as a representative of the subjects in the public interest.
A public right is possessed by every member of the public. For example, a right that is concerned with the Government may be termed as a public right such as the right to vote. A private right, on the other hand, is concerned with individuals, that is both the parties connected with it are private persons. For example, owning a vehicle is a private right.
Positive and Negative Rights
A right is considered as positive or negative depending upon its correlative duty. A positive right exists when the owner of it is entitled to something to be done by the person of incidence. A person possessing a positive right can compel the person with the duty to perform a positive act.
For instance, a right to receive a compensation is a positive right. A negative right corresponds to a negative duty and is a right that the person bound shall refrain from some act which would operate to the prejudice of the entitled; in other words, a negative right, corresponds a negative duty.
It is a right of the person and the person bound shall restrain from doing some act which will be prejudicial to the person entitled, such as when a person owns a land, it is the duty of others to not trespass.
Every person is entitled to negative rights, but only a few get positive rights. The number of negative rights is larger than positive rights. The difference between these rights is illustrated below –
1. A positive right corresponds to a positive duty whereas a negative right corresponds to a negative duty.
2. A positive right involves a positive act while a negative right involves some kind of forbearance or not doing.
3. A positive right entitles the owner of it to an alteration of the present position to his advantage whereas a negative right seeks to maintain the present position of things.
4. A positive right aims at some positive benefit but a negative right aims at not to be harmed.
5. A positive right requires an active involvement of others but a negative right requires only positive acquiescence of other persons.
6. A positive right receives something more than what one already has whereas a negative right seeks to retain what one already has.
7. A positive right has a mediate and indirect relation to the object while a negative right is immediately related to the object.
A vested right is a right in respect of which all events essential to vest the right in the owner have happened; while a contingent right is one in respect of which only some of the events necessary to vest the right have happened and the vesting can be complete only on the happening or non-happening of a specified uncertain event.
A vested right is not dependent upon the fulfillment of any condition and a right becomes contingent only on the fulfillment of any condition that may either be subsequent or precedent. Vested rights are transferable and inheritable, this is not possible in contingent rights.
Perfect and Imperfect Rights
A perfect right is one which corresponds to a perfect duty and a perfect duty is one which is not only recognized by the law but is enforced also. Perfect right means the complete right, which signifies the right for which there is remedy also.
This is explained by the latin maxim “ubi jus ibi remedium” which means, where there is a right, there is a remedy. When in case of the breach the right is not enforceable in a court of law then it is known as imperfect right.
This was stated in the case of Allen v. Waters & Co. [(1935) 1 KB 200]. The Directive Principles of the State Policy that is present in the Indian Constitution is an example of imperfect rights.
Principal and Accessory Rights
A principal right is a primary right of a person vested in him by the law of the land, or through any other legal method. An accessory right is a right which is connected with the principal right. Principal rights exist independently while accessory rights are dependent upon principal rights. They are beneficial on the principal right.
Legal and Equitable Rights
These type of legal rights cannot be found in India. It is found only in England. Legal rights are those which were recognized by the Courts of Common Law in England and Equitable rights are those which were solely recognized in the Court of Chancery.
The underlying principle in regards to equitable rights is that when there are two inconsistent equitable rights claimed by different persons over the same thing, the first in time shall prevail.
Although, where there is a conflict between a legal right and an equitable right, the legal right shall take precedence over equitable right even if it is subsequent to the equitable right in origin.
The Privy Council in Chatra Kumari Devi v. Mohan Bikram [(1931) 58 I.A 279] observed that the Indian law does not recognized legal and equitable estates.
Proprietary and Personal Rights
Proprietary Rights are rights that are related to a person’s property whilst personal rights relate to one’s body. Proprietary rights are transferable and personal rights are not.
If the breach of a right can be measured in terms of money or it has money value than it is said that the person has proprietary right but if the breach of a right cannot be measured in money or it has no money value that that right is known or called as personal right. A personal right is uninheritable and dies with him.
Rights in Rem and Rights in Personam
These are also called real and personal rights. The modem terms right “in rem” and right “in personam” have been generalized, somewhat inaccurately, from Roman sources. A right in rem means a right available against the whole world whereas a right in personam is a right that is available only against specific number of people.
Rights in re Propria and Rights in re Aliena
Rights in re Propria and Rights in re Aliena are a classification of proprietary rights. Right in re Propria is the right in his own thing and if he has a right in the property belonging to another than he is said to have a right in re Aliena.
A right in re-Aliena "or encumbrance" has been defined by Salmond as one which limits or derogates from some more general right belonging to some other person in respect of the same subject-matter. Salmond refers to four classes of encumbrances, namely, i) Leases; ii) Servitudes; iii) Securities & iv) Trusts.
i) Leases – A lease is an encumbrance of property vested in one person by a right to
the possession and use of it vested in another person.
ii) Servitude – A servitude is a right to the limited use of a piece of land unaccompanied
either by the ownership or possession of it.
iii) Security – Security is an encumbrance vested in a creditor over the property of his debtor for the purpose of securing the recovery of the debt.
iv) Trust – A trust is an encumbrance in which the ownership of property is limited by an equitable obligation to deal with it for the benefit of someone else. The owner of the encumbered property is called the trustee and the owner of the encumbrance is the beneficiary of tire trust.
ENFORCEMENT OF LEGAL RIGHTS
A legal right may be enforced through a Court of Law that has been established by the State. A legal right is generally enforced by awarding damages in civil cases. IF damages don’t suffice, the object itself may be restored. Specific performances may also be ordered by the court.
Alternatively, the court may grant an injunction for the enforcement of a legal right. The law of injunction is mentioned in Specific Relief Act, 1963. It is a prohibitive writ which restrains a party from doing an act that affects the plaintiff from enjoying his legal right.
A duty is an obligatory act. It is something to do or abstain from doing in favour of another person. A man has a duty towards any matter that he is legally obligated to. The term legal duty has been defined in the following ways –
1. Keaton – A duty is an act of forbearance which is enforced by the state in respect of a right vested in another and breach of which is a wrong.
2. Salmond – A duty is roughly speaking an act which one ought to do, an act the opposite of which would be a wrong.
Duty is of two kinds – 1. Moral and 2. Legal
Moral – An act that is the opposite of which is a moral or natural wrong. A duty may be moral but not legal or legal but not moral, or both at once. For example, the act of not wasting paper is our moral duty but not legal.
Legal – A legal duty is an act, the opposite of which is a legal wrong. It is an act recognized as a duty by law and treated as such for the administration of justice. The law enforced the performance of a legal duty, and punishes the disregard of its performance.
CLASSIFICATION OF DUTIES
Duties are classified under the following categories –
Primary and Secondary Duties –
A primary duty is one which exists “per se” and is independent of any other duty. A secondary duty, on the other hand, is one which has no independent existence of other duties. A secondary duty is also called sanctioning or a remedial duty.
Positive and Negative Duties
Duties may also be distinguished into positive and negative duties. Duties that are to be performed by us at the behest of the law is known as a positive duty whilst an act that is prohibited from being performed under the law is a negative duty.
Absolute and Relative Duties
In the words of Austin, rights and duties are interdependent. He has classified duties into absolute and relative. Relative duties are those for which there is a corresponding right and absolute duties are those that do not have any corresponding rights. He mentions four kinds of absolute duties:-
- Self-regarding duties such as a duty not to commit suicide or not to consume drugs or liquor, etc.
- Duties towards indeterminate persons or public at large, e.g. a duty not to commit a nuisance.
- Duties to those who are not human beings such as duty towards God or animals, birds, etc.
- A duty towards the sovereign or the state.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES
It is an agreed fact that rights and duties are co-existent. Although there is exists a difference in opinion whether there must be a right that correlates to the duty.
Salmond says that there can be no right without a corresponding duty and vice versa. According to this, every duty must be a duty towards a person or some person, in whom a correlative right is vested and conversely every right must be a right against some persons upon whom, a correlative duty is imposed.
Every right and duty has a bond of legal obligation. Austin has stated that rights are interdependent, not correlative, contrary to Salmond’s opinions. He has classified them into relative and absolute duties as explained above.