Man Cannot be Booked for Running Over Stray: Bombay HC

| Updated: January 6, 2023 1:06 pm

The Bombay high court quashed the FIR against an engineering student who, while riding a bike, hit a stray dog killing it. It said a person cannot be booked under IPC sections 279 and 337 for rash driving and negligent acts endangering human life for causing a dog’s death.

The court rapped the police for its investigation into the death of a stray dog that died after it was hit by a student on a bike in 2020. The court directed the state government to pay costs of Rs 20,000 to the student, adding that the costs would be recovered from the salary of the concerned officers responsible for lodging the FIR and approving filing of a chargesheet.

Manas Godbole (20), an engineering student who was doing a part-time job as food delivery boy, was riding a bike on April 11, 2020 when he accidentally hit a stray dog that was crossing the road.

On the complaint of a dog lover, Marine Drive police registered an offence under IPC sections 279, 337, 429, and section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. A chargesheet was filed against Godbole before the 64th Metropolitan Magistrate court.

“The said sections do not recognise and make an offence any injury caused otherwise than to human beings. Thus, insofar as the injury/death caused to the pet/animal is concerned, the same would not constitute offences under Sections 279 & 337 of the IPC,” the HC said.

The HC said the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act would not apply with regard to the manner in which the accident had taken place. “Nothing is shown by the prosecution to show that the petitioner was driving beyond the speed limit stipulated on the said road. The application of these sections by the Marine Drive Police clearly shows non-application of mind. The police being the custodian of law, need to be more circumspect and cautious whilst registering FIR and of course later, whilst filing chargesheet.”

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