The aimless shooting by a Narikurava, engaged by a local panchayat in Perambalur district to eliminate stray dogs, has cost the State exchequer and the local body, ₹5 lakh each.
A direction to this effect was given by Justice S M Subramaniam of the Madras High Court, while allowing a writ petition from one G Babu, recently.
The case of the petitioner was that the local panchayat had engaged the services of Vijayakumar, a Narikurava (member belonging to an indigenous community), to shoot down the stray dogs in the village. The indiscriminate and aimless shooting by Vijayakumar had resulted in one bullet hitting leg of Vijaya, petitioner’s mother, in February, 2015. She was admitted to the government hospital, but died later. He moved the High Court for a direction to the authorities concerned to compensate him for causing the death of his mother due to the “negligent, lethargic and irresponsible act” of the Eraiyur panchayat office-bearers and to take action against them.
Allowing the petition, the judge observed that the petitioner could establish a prima facie case and the death of his mother occurred due to the illegal operation conducted by the panchayat people. Shooting the stray dogs itself was an illegal act. The Panchayat office-bearers thereby, committed the act of illegality and an offence. The prosecution has been initiated and it was for them to defend their case before the competent Court of law. However, the petitioner was entitled for compensation as the 5th respondent is the president and the remaining two were the Councilors. It is an unusual incident where the responsible Panchayat president and Councilors had engaged Vijayakumar for shooting the stray dogs in the Village. The very operation itself was illegal and further the bullet removed from the mother of the petitioner during post-mortem confirms that the death occurred due to the bullet injuries.
“Under these circumstances, this Court is inclined to consider the case of the petitioner for grant of compensation. Unfortunately, the official respondents 1 to 4 — Collector and police higher ups in the district — have not shown any sensitiveness in this matter nor initiated appropriate immediate action, contrarily they had slowed down the actions and thereby colluded in a passive manner.” “ Even the passive collusion of the public authorities can never be tolerated. The illegal operations made by the respondents 5 to 8 were not seriously taken nor immediate actions were initiated,” the judge said.
This being the factum established, the panchayat people are directed to jointly pay ₹5 lakh to the petitioner towards compensation. Further, the Collector shall pay ₹5 lakh to the petitioner. Thus, the petitioner is entitled for a total compensation of ₹10 lakh and the four respondents shall settle their respective portion of the compensation in favour of the petitioner within eight weeks, the judge said.