Observing that dogs and cats are not humans, the Bombay High Court has quashed a First Information Report (FIR) against a Swiggy delivery partner who accidentally mowed down a dog in April 2020 while delivering a parcel.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Pritviraj Chavan while quashing the FIR noted that although pet owners treat their pets as a child or as a family member by their owners, but basic biology tells us that they are not human beings".
The bench also imposed a cost of ₹ 20,000 on the government, which has to be recovered from the officer concerned for registering an offence and approving filing of the chargesheet despite no offence being disclosed.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Manas Godbole, 20, who was booked by the Marine Drive Police Station on April 11, 2020,for mowing down a stray dog following a complaint lodged by a woman. He was booked under Sections 279, 337, 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various Sections of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“While Section 279 speaks about whoever drives any vehicle so as to endanger human life, Section 337 speaks about endangering human life. No doubt, a dog/cat is treated as a child or as a family member by their owners, but basic biology tells us that they are not human beings,” said the bench adding: “Sections 279 and 337 pertains to acts endangering human life, or likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person.”
Hence, the said provisions will not be applicable in the present case. “The said sections do not recognize and make an offence any injury caused otherwise than to human being. Thus, insofar as the injury/death caused to the pet / animal is concerned, the same would not constitute offences,” added the court.
What happened at Marine Drive?
According to the prosecution, on April 11, 2020, around 8 pm, Godbole was delivering a food parcel in south Mumbai and the complainant was feeding some stray dogs at Marine Drive. The dog suddenly came in front of Godbole’s bike due to which, it was injured and later died.
Godbole, who was 18 at the time and pursuing his Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunication, also fell down and was injured.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)