ANIMAL LIABILITY IN INDIA; PART-3

B).   VEERAMANI CHETTIAR VS. DAVIS AND ORS.1 –

In this case the animal in question an elephant named ‘SIVAN’ owned by defendant 1 was in the ‘POORAM PROCESSION’ proceeding from west to east through the M.G. road, the plaintiff was also walking through the footpath on the same path when the elephant suddenly moved towards the plaintiff and lifted him through his trunk to the height of 15’ and threw him away, which subsequently resulted in grievous injuries to the plaintiff on his right elbow and various other parts of his body, the bone on the right elbow was injured to the extent that it was broken, the plaintiff was immediately taken to the hospital where he had to undergo three surgeries and was discharged after almost two months, though the treatment continued for a long time the natural movement of his hand was lost and he is unable to lift and load goods which was his job as a coolie in a tile factory prior to the accident. The judgement in this case delivered by Justice K. Harilal, the judgement iterated that the elephant although tamed/domesticated will not be considered as an animal harmless by nature, the court relying on the judgement given by justices Sankaran Nair and William Ayling in the case

1 Veeramani Chettiar vs. Davis and others, A.I.R. 2013 Ker. 82, (Ker. H.C. 2013).

‘Vedapuratti alias Valiya Thampuratti v. Koppan Nairm’, reiterated that though elephants are bred in captivity in some parts of the world but not in India, so the elephant in question though domesticated or tamed, as stated by defendant 1 and also by D.W. 2, cannot be considered harmless because it was reclaimed from the wild-state and its nature will remain always wild. The author is critical of this judgement given by Justice K. Hiralal, because the court was wrong in stating that elephants are not tamed in India, elephants are in fact domesticated in India like it is in Burma.

The elephant is used for many domestic purposes like religion processions as is the case above, in many parts of the country especially the southern part it is not uncommon to see elephants roaming freely in the city states with Mahouts controlling them, although there is a differentiation between elephants, as some of them do belong to the jungles but only because they are not domesticated, but in this case the elephant was domestic by nature and was bred in captivity, and as stated by D.W. 2 in the trial, this particular elephant was always calm and quiet in nature, the court miserably failed to consider these facts, and it’s judgement was just based on the case of ‘Vedapuratti alias Valiya Thampuratti v. Koppan Nairm’, the court failed to interpret the issue in the Indian perspective, which subsequently resulted in the loss of the defendants.

Aishwarya Says:

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