Principle: There Are Legal Provisions to Give Authority to a Person to Use Necessary Force Against an Assailant Or Wrong­-doer for the Purpose - Legal Reasoning

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MCQ

The principle is to be applied to the given facts and to choose the most appropriate option:

Principle: There are legal provisions to give authority to a person to use necessary force against an assailant or wrong­doer for the purpose of protecting one’s own body and property as also another’s body and property when immediate aid from the state machinery is not readily available; and in so doing he is not answerable in law for his deeds.

Facts: X, a rich man was taking his morning walk. Due to the threat of robbers in the locality, he was carrying his pistol also. In the opposite direction, another person was coming with a ferocious-looking dog. All of a sudden, the dog which was on a chain held by the owner, started barking at X. The owner of the dog called the dog to be calm. Th ey crossed each other without any problem. But suddenly, the dog started barking again from a distance. X immediately took out his pistol. By seeing the pistol the dog stopped barking and started walking with the owner. However, X shot at the dog which died instantly. The owner of the dog files a complaint against X, which in due course reached the Magistrate Court. X pleads the right of private defense. Decide

Options

  • There was no imminent danger to X as the dog stopped barking and was walking with the owner. Hence, shooting it amounted to excessive use of the right of private defense and hence liable for killing the dog.

  • The right of private defence is available to persons against assailants or wrong­doers only and a dog does not fall in this category.

  • Shooting a fierce dog is not to be brought under the criminal law. So the case should be dismissed.

  • As there was no guarantee that the dog would not bark again, shooting it was a precautionary measure and hence within the right available to X under law.

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Solution

There was no imminent danger to X as the dog stopped barking and was walking with the owner. Hence, shooting it amounted to excessive use of the right of private defense and hence liable for killing the dog.

Explanation:

There was no imminent danger to X as the dog stopped barking and was walking with the owner. Hence,  shooting it amounted to excessive use of the right to private defense and hence liable for killing the dog.  The principle provides that a person can use force against an assailant or wrongdoer in self- defense when imminent danger is present. The right to private defense can only be exercised when the circumstances justify it and not otherwise.   
In the given question, the dog stopped barking after which X used his gun to kill the dog. Therefore, the force used by X was excessive and unnecessary.   

Concept: Law of Torts (Entrance Exams)
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