The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that humans should be given priority in instances where a dangerous animal is killed if it poses a threat.
The court said that if a police officer or any public servant killed the animal and even if it turned out to be wrong, he would be protected by the law.
The court was deciding on a petition filed by TK Muhammed Shafeeq - a police officer in Tirur of Malappuram.
He had killed an elephant that was creating a ruckus after killing a man. The police officer shot the animal as it was running towards a village, which would have otherwise cost more human lives.
On a petition filed by the elephant owners, a lower court had asked the officer to pay compensation.
Dismissing the lower court’s decision, the HC said, “All other laws are made subservient to accomplish the right to life guaranteed under the Constitution. If that be so, the public servant, who is on duty to prevent or obviate danger to human life caused by a dangerous animal, must give preference to protect life of human beings, which stands guaranteed under the Constitution, rather than the life of an animal. He can shoot the animal to save a human life, if he is empowered and authorized to use the firearm, under law; but, the circumstance must justify the shooting of the animal,” as per a report in The Times of India.
The court said that even if the public servant’s act turned out to be wrong later and if it was found that the act done was not proper, he cannot be held liable as he had done the act in good faith in order to save the lives of many.