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KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Indian Penal Code is a comprehensive code that aims to encompass all aspects of criminal law and lays down the penalties and remedies available for committing any wrongful act.

The law stipulates several penalties for particular breaches, and justice in India is administered in line with the IPC and CrPC.

This particular article talks about offenses punishable under Section 289 and 338 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) vide Section 248(1) and Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

INTRODUCTION

Dogs did not have a particular place in the affections of their human counterparts until the 18th century. Until the expression "man's best friend" entered the vernacular, their job was only utilitarian. From pets to athletic partners to service dogs, they contribute a measurable degree of quality to the worlds of the humans with whom they spend their lives. Have you ever imagined yourself in jail because of something your dog did? Yes, you read that correctly! If you are irresponsible and inconsiderate, your dog's misbehavior might find you in serious problems. As the number of individuals who keep dogs as domestic pets grows, so does the bother and disruption created by these dogs.Several incidents have resulted in large sums of compensation being imposed by courts for the pet owners' negligence. Another recent case on the same topic has emerged as mentioned below.

THE CASE

On June 29, 2014, Sonal Nandkumar Badkule's nine-year-old son was taking a stroll with his friends in the morning on the road in front of their Nandanvan home when he was chased and bitten by the accused's pet dog and another dog. The nine-year-old was severely injured as a result of this incident. He had bite wounds on his neck, shoulder, and legs. Following that, a discontented Badkule filed a complaint with the Nandanvan police station. Head constable Mahadeo Korpe and others conducted the investigations and were represented by Mona Raut, the public prosecutor.

On January 2, 2015, the accused appeared in Court to give her testimony. After the court proceedings, while announcing the verdict, the JMFC (judicial magistrate first class- Magistrates of "Group-A" Category who have judicial authority) warned that the accused would be imprisoned for another six months if she did not pay the compensation.

Dr. Sangita Vijay Balkote, a Shrikrushna Nagar resident, was convicted for offenses punishable under Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) via Section 248(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Section 357 of the CrPC, and Section 338 of IPC.The JMFC (judicial magistrate first class) presided over by JD Jadhao imposed an Rs. Fifty thousand fine on her nearly seven years after her pet dog bit a nine-year-old. Sonal Nandkumar Badkule, the child's mother, received the money after filing a case under Section 357 of the CrPC.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT

The Court observed the following in the case against Dr. Sangita Vijay Balkote:

  1. 1. Whoever fails to pursue such authority with any animal in their custody as is sufficient to guard against any plausible danger to human life or any potential threat of severe harm from such animal, whether intentionally or incompetently, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to six months.
  2. 2. Anyone who causes significant injury to another person by behaving rashly or carelessly in such a way that human life or the personal safety of others shall be penalized by imprisonment of either kind for a time of up to two years, a fine of up to Rs. One thousand, or both.
  3. 3. The victim's life is still in jeopardy as a consequence of the illness induced by the dog's bite as a result of the accused's negligence. As a consequence, based on the circumstances and seriousness of the offenses, as well as the accused's plea, a six-month jail term would suit the aims of Justice.
  4. 4. The accused's bail bonds would be relinquished, and all sentences would begin simultaneously. The accused should receive a free copy of this ruling.

LEGAL PROVISIONS AND JUDGEMENTS

Indian Penal Code is the law that states the punishable offenses in India, along with their punishments or penalty or both. As opposed, the Criminal Procedure Code pertains to the law that describes the overall procedure to be followed while undertaking a criminal case. Cited below are the sections and judgments that were implemented in this case:

1. Section 248 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973: "If, in any case under this Chapter in which a charge has been framed, the Magistrate finds the accused not guilty, he shall record an order of acquittal." This implies that if the judge discovers the accused is not guilty in any matter under this Chapter in which a charge has been prepared, he shall record an order of acquittal.

2. Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code: "Negligent conduct with respect to animal," signifies that a person who fails to keep order with any animal in his control to avoid endangering human life or causing grave harm to another person is punishable by imprisonment for six months or a fine of one thousand rupees, or both. Any magistrate court can hear matters concerning this particular Section.

Case Law under Section 289 of IPC

  • A very similar case to this one is the one of Sunita Talwar's pet dog, in which the dog bit an eight-year-old child of her next-door neighbor. She had to undertake a three-year legal struggle to get the lawsuit dismissed. She was eventually released after pleading guilty and acknowledging that the child's injuries were caused by her inability to handle the dog. She apologized to the child's father and paid a fine of Rs 1,000. Even after that, she was 'convicted' because she was found guilty after her admission.
  • In another example from Chandigarh, Satbir, who runs a taxi business, was arrested in 2019 after his pet dog bit a 10-year-old youngster. The owner of a pet was prosecuted under Section 289 of the IPC with imprisonment of any kind for a term of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs. 1,000, or both.

3. Section 357 in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: "Order to pay compensation." This Section states the following:(1) Whenever a Court enforces a fine or a sentence (including a sentence of death) in which fine is a part, the Court may order the whole or any part of the fine recovered to be applied to:

a. paying for the costs of the prosecution that were legitimately incurred;

b. paying remuneration to any person for any loss or injury caused by the crime, when such compensation is, in the Court's view, recoverable by such person in a Civil Court.

This Section signifies that the accused's bail bonds would be forfeited, and all sentences would run consecutively. The accused should be given a free copy of this ruling. In addition, the clause provides for the payment of compensation to the victim or individuals harmed by the offense, regardless of whether the offense is punishable by fine and punishment is levied. Still, the accused must have been convicted and punished. When deciding whether to award compensation, the Court must evaluate the nature of the harm, how it was caused, and the accused's ability to pay the sum, among other things.

Thus, according to sub-section (1), compensation can be required to be paid only when the accused is sentenced to a fine or another penalty in which the fine is a component. It further states that the reparation shall be given from the fine seized from the offender. As a result, the amount of compensation should not exceed the amount of fine required to be paid. The fine amount would rely on the limit imposed in the relevant criminal Section of the violation.

Section 357 (1), clause (a), permits the Court to require expenditures to be paid to the State if the accused has received a substantial sentence of fine. In the absence of a fine sentence, such an order cannot be granted.

According to Section 357 (1) clause (b), the accused may be compelled to pay compensation to a person who has incurred any loss or harm resulting from an offense committed against him or his property, provided such payment is recoverable in a Civil Court.

Case Law under Section 357 in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

  • In the case of Arjunan v. State of Tamil Nadu (1997), it was contended by the Court, "The owner of the Court to award compensation under section 357 is not secondary to other sentences, but it is an addition to it."

4. Section 338 of Indian Penal Code: "Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others." This section states that if anybody causes grave harm to any person by acting in a reckless or careless manner as to threaten human life or the personal safety of others will be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of two years or with a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees, or with both. The prosecution must show that the accused behaved recklessly and negligently to pursue a case under this section. The crime is cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the court's consent, and triable by any magistrate under this section.

Case Law under Section 338 of Indian Penal Code

  • In another case, "Government of Bombay v, Malkaji (D)," 1884, Kendall and Birdwood J.J. concluded that a person who permitted his cart to travel unattended down a road and ran over a sleeping youngster on the road was convicted under Section 338, I.P.C. One of the most perplexing aspects of this section is the conviction under Sections 279 and 338. In the majority of motor vehicle accident cases, there is a stumbling block as to whether the accused may be tried under both provisions or under one.In the majority of the instances considered, it was made apparent that separate convictions under Sections 279 and 338, as well as the imposition of separate sentences, are admissible. It was stated in the year 1968 by an Hon’ble court that "the offence under Sec.279 does not include the offence under Sec.338 or Sec.337, nor does the offence under Sec.338 or Sec.337 include the offence under Sec.279 because the ingredient of driving is missing in Sec.338 and 337." According to Section 26 of the General Clauses Act, the accused can be charged under either the IPC or the Motor Vehicle Act, but not both.

CONCLUSION

Dogs are known as mans’ best friend. Many of us are animal lovers and love to keep dogs or cats as our pets but it is our duty that we ensure that our pets do not cause harm to others. The only controllable element in the growing number of dog bites is that pet owners become more cautious and watchful of their pets. When you own a dog, you owe it to society and your neighbours to ensure that the dog is well-trained and mannered in public settings.So it is past time for us dog lovers and pet owners to wake up to our dogs' misbehavior, because the repercussions and harm inflicted to the victims can be pretty severe and deadly.

With respect to the cases mentioned above, it is clear that these particular sections have been framed stringently and do not allow people to commit grievous offences and get away with it by claiming that it was an accident. Accidents takes place only when one is negligent. These laws guarantee that gross carelessness that causes serious harm to others is not tolerated. As a result, these sections are important for our society.


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