Karnataka High Court recently held that an accident involving a pet dog will not attract the rash driving clause under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as that law recognises injuries caused only to human beings.
Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code related to rash driving or riding on a public way. The person convicted under IPC Section 279 can be imprisoned for up to six months or/and a fine of Rs 1000.
The bench allowed the petition filed by Prathap Kumar G, a resident of Kurubarahalli in Bengaluru city who was accused of knocking a pet dog in February 2018.
Justice Suraj Govindaraj noted that the IPC Section has the heading ‘rash driving or riding on a public way’ but “does not recognise and/or make an offence (of) any injury caused otherwise than to a human being”.
“Thus, as far as the injury or death caused to the pet or animal is concerned, the same would not amount to an offence in terms of IPC Sec 279,” the order reads.
The complainant referred to a Supreme Court observation where it was noted, “no creature is superior to human beings and that animals are to be treated equally and even they have a right to life.”
The judge noted, “So, the apex court’s observation can not be applied to Section 279 of IPC unless the provision makes a particular act an offence. The section can not be extended to any death or injury caused to an animal. If the submission of the complainant is accepted and the word person is interpreted to include an animal, then section 302 (murder) would also be attracted which is not the intent of IPC.“