The Karnataka High Court confirmed a fine of rupees 1000 imposed by a lower court on a 72-year-old woman who pleaded guilty for causing death of eight puppies aged 20 days old.

A complaint was filed against the accused alleging that she had removed the puppies from a drain near her house and kept them in a nearby site. It was alleged that because of this, the puppies could not go back to their mother and died in the sun.

The police filed a charge sheet against the accused for offences punishable under Section 429 IPC, Section 93 of the Karnataka Police Act and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

A Single Bench of Justice J.M. Khazi observed, “Now accused is aged about 72 years. Having regard to these aspects, this Court is of the considered opinion that this is not a fit case to interfere in exercise of the power under Section 397 r/w 401 Cr.P.C.

Senior Counsel Tomy Sebastin represented the petitioner, while Advocate Adithya S. Kumar appeared for the respondents.

The accused pleaded guilty and the trial court convicted her and sentenced her to pay a fine of Rs. 1000. The Sessions Court upheld the decision. Aggrieved by the order of the lower courts, the complainant filed a petition before the High Court under Section 397 of the Cr.P.C. as the punishment imposed was ‘unjust, improper and liable to be set aside’.

The complainant had argued that the punishment imposed by both the Courts was not commensurate with the gravity of the offence committed by the accused as per the scope of Article 51 (A) (g) of the Constitution which mandates that “it is the duty of every citizen to have compassion for living creatures and sought for enhancing the punishment imposed on the accused.

The High Court explained the ambit of the right to prefer an appeal under Section 397 of the CrP.C, “The plain reading of the Section makes it clear that the victim has no right of appeal, challenging the quantum of punishment. He can only challenge the acquittal or convicting for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation.

The Court, given that the accused was 65 years old at the time of the incident, held that the trial Court was well within its power to exercise discretion.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title: Harish KB v. Smt Ponnamma & Anr.

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