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  • Writer's picturebrillopedia


Author : Akanksha, I year of B.A.,LL B from Amity University Jharkhand.

The case starts with the five explorers being trapped in a cave as the entrance was obstructed because of land slide. To save them , rescue team forwarded their steps but because of another fresh landslide they were not able to reach out there and even ten of them died . Days and nights were passing by like anything . No animal flesh or vegetable was available . It was becoming quite difficult for those five explorers to survive . Suddenly on the twentieth day , one ray of hope entered in their cave , they found out one wireless portable device from which they can send and receive messages and as a result they were able to communicate with the rescue team . Rescue team informed them that at least they need ten more days to pave out the way for those explorers . After that they heard this they thought to connect with the health experts , the health experts suggested that the survival possibility without food is very less for another ten days . After that they did not had any conversation for eight hours , they did not received any messages . They all were in dilemma that what to do next , one men suggested to eat any one of them and this will be decided by the dice method . As the dice was about to cast , one of those five explorers named Roger Whetmore decided to withdraw himself from that game , when other heard his statement , they considered it breach of faith and rolled the dice on behalf of him . Co-incidently the dice went against him and thus as a result he was killed and eaten up by others to satisfy their hunger . After two days that is on the thirty second day , rescue team were able to make out the way and there they found out only four explorers , thus they rescued those four explorers and the four explorers were saved . After they were rescued , the four explorers were provided with medications and treatment . When they recovered after some time they were charged for the murder of that one explorer Roger Whetmore . The bench of judges which were involved in the decision making part were – Chief Justice Truepenny , Justice Foster , Justice Tatting , Justice Keen and Justice Handy . At the time of judgement , the question arised that whether it was correct to snatch the right of protection of life to save life . Bench of five judges sat together to reach out to the conclusion part . Basic Law which was used in this case was that whoever shall wilfully take the life of another shall be given the punishment of death . Chief Justice Truepenny said that murder statute definitely applies here in the defendant’s part . Justice Foster used the theory of natural justice . He used the maxim – cessante ratione legis , cessat et ipsa lex which meant that when the reason for law ceases , the law itself ceases . When Roger Whetmore was killed by the other four explorers then the other four explorers were in the state of nature . He also said that , when the ten rescue men lost their lives for the sake of those five explorers so that their life can be saved then why not just one explorer save the lives of other four explorers at the cost of one . Justice Tatting was not able to distinguish between his emotional and intellectual side and thus he withdrew himself from the above case . Justice Keen gave the principle of positivism . He said that as one private citizen stated that if he were the Chief Executive , he would pardon all the men , as they have already suffered a lot earlier only . The question which was in this case was it’s not whether what those four explorers did was right or wrong , whether it was wicked or good , instead the main question which arises that whether the defendant within the meaning of the statute wilfully took the life of Roger Whetmore . Lastly , Justice Handy said that this case is based upon Legal Realism – that is common sense . He was only disappointed because none of them raised the question that whether it was unilateral or bilateral and whether Whetmore’s withdrawal from the game which was to cast the dice could not be considered as the revoke of the offer prior to the action which was taken . Two judges affirm the conviction while the another two overturn the conviction , the fifth judge didn’t reached to the conclusion part and thus he withdrew himself from the above case . Finally , the result came as that they will be spend their life in imprisonment for six months and after that they will be hanged on the charge of murder of that one explorer named Roger Whetmore .

We could say that the case of Speluncean Explorers is quite full of tragedy and ups and downs. Thereby reaching towards the conclusion part we can assume that possibility of being rescued of all the five explorers might had been the best one if the rescue operation had been done quite more accurately and if on the day of communication with the explorers they didn’t gave them the deadline of ten days as after two days only they were rescued and even the explorers could have had more patience .


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