Tort now means a breach of some duty independent of contract giving rise to a civil cause of action and for which compensation is recoverable.
In spite of various attempts an entirely satisfactory definition of tort still awaits its master.
Everyone is expected to behave in a straightforward manner and when one deviates from this straight path into crooked ways he has committed a tort.
Hence tort is a conduct which is twisted or crooked and not straight.
Salmond and Hueston- A tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common action for unliquidated damages, and which is not exclusively the breach of a contract or the breach of a trust or other mere equitable obligation.
Sir Frederick Pollock- Every tort is an act or omission (not being merely the breach of a duty arising out of a personal relation, or undertaken by contract) which is related in one of the following ways to harm (including reference with an absolute right, whether there be measurable actual damage or not), suffered by a determinate person:- a) It may be an act which, without lawful justification or excuse, is intended by the agent to cause harm, and does cause the harm complained of.
However only those rules of conduct of persons which are protected and enforced by the state do really constitute the law of the land in its strict sense.
According to Salmond the law consists of rules recognized and acted on by courts of justice.
Further, in applying the English law on a particular point, the Indian courts are not restricted to common law.
If the new rules of English statute law replacing or modifying the common law are more in consonance with justice, equity and good conscience, it is open o the courts in India to reject the outmoded rules of common law and to apply the new rules. Union of India , Justice Bhagwati said, we have to evolve new principles and lay down new norms which will adequately deal with new problems which arise in a highly industrialized economy.