Decided on June 12,1967



- (1.) Though this second appeal has been argued at some length and some decisions have also been cited. I do not find much force in the case.
(2.) The second appeal arises out of a suit for damages by the first respondent, a minor represented by his father, for injuries caused to him by the explosion of a minnal gundu at the Trichur Pooram in April 1959. The second respondent is the 20th defendant, the independent contractor who attended to the exhibition of fire works; and the appellants are some of the members of the Pooram Celebration Committee They were members of the Paramekkavu Devaswom Committee as well alone with some others who were also impleaded as defendants in the suit. I may add that the Paranwkkavu Devaswom itself was the first defendant. Both the lower courts have decreed the suit; and there is no dispute now regarding the quantum of damages or regarding the finding that the injury was caused by the negligence of the 20th defendant , The Trial Court made the appellants and the Devaswom liable: It held that it was the Celebration Committee that was responsible for the conduct of the Pooram and not the Devaswom Committee. On appeal the District Judge held that in view of the finding of the trial judge that the Devaswom Committee was not responsible, the Devaswom could not also be made responsible. Ultimately, the liability was confined to the appellants, who were members of the Pooram Celebration Committee.
(3.) A minnal gundu is an explosive made out of a coconut shell by filling it with an explosive substance. The coconut shell itself is placed in a bamboo tube with gun powder beneath; and the tube is kept upright tied to an iron peg driven into the ground. When the gun powder in the tube is ignited through a small hole on the side of the tube, the coconut shell is ejected vertically several feet into the sky where it explodes producing a flash or lightning-like light and a loud report. Two processions of elephants bearing the deity or Poorams organised by two Devaswoms, the Paramekkavu and the Thiruvambadi Devaswoms, meet at the southern gopuram of the Vadakkunnatha Temple in the evening at about 5 or 5.30 in the Thekkumkad Maidan around the temple; and just as the elephant of the Paramekkavu Devaswom bearing the deity emerges through the southern gopuram before this important event, a few hundreds of olappadakkams interspersed with about 20 or 25 minnal gundus are fired. (Olappadakams are a type of fire works made with gun powder wrapped in small parcels of palm leaves.) The accident is said to have happened when this was done.;

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