A retired sub-inspector who was accused of intentionally running over a stray dog in Bengaluruâ€™s Hulimavu region, has been convicted by a Bengaluru court. Nageshaiah was fined Rs 2,000 and sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment on August 14 after he pleaded guilty in the court under Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. While the activists are glad that he was convicted, they believe that the punishment does not justify the cruelty.
Nageshaiah drove over a stray dog that was sleeping near his house at Doddakammanahalli in Hulimavu in January this year. Charlie's Animal Rescue Centre and We Save Animals initially filed non-cognizable report in the case. Subsequently, the dog was being treated at Bozo Wags LLP Veterinary Hospital and Pet Services but succumbed to its injuries four months after the incident.
Speaking to TNM, a representative of Citizens for Animal Birth Control and CJ Memorial Trust, animal welfare organisations in Bengaluru, said that this was the first time multiple stakeholders like Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Karnataka Animal Welfare Board (AWB), and other non-governmental organisations came together to get the accused convicted.
â€śThe FIR was accepted and pressure by stakeholders to prevent the dreaded B report (police investigation report), was accorded due attention by the courts and this is a win in itself, however small. The accused was arrested but released on bail initially and after months of diligence and follow up, is now finally convicted of the crime. He also has a permanent criminal record in his name and that is a major precedent,â€ť the representative said.
Lawyer Allwyn Sebastian, who represented the case, said that the convictions in cases of animal cruelty are very few. Sebastian pointed out that a charge sheet is filed only in 5-10% of the cases of animal cruelty. He said the judiciary is also hesitant to enforce section 429 of the IPC in cases of cruelty against stray dogs especially.
â€śThe penalty at present in such cases is a minimum of Rs 50 but it should be changed. It should be increased to a minimum of Rs 25,000 and depending on the severity of the case, the accused should be made to serve the jail term. Given the increase in cases of animal abuse, the judiciary should take note of it. Such cases will reduce if people understand that they could be jailed for animal cruelty,â€ť said Allwyn.
He also pointed out that Section 429 needs to be amended. â€śThe law was constituted in the 1860s during the British rule because cattle were important for people to earn a livelihood. With time, it needs to change because unless the legislation changes, the judiciary cannot do much,â€ť he added.