Animals Have Right To Life & Bodily Integrity, Honor & Dignity: P&H HC Refuses To Quash FIR Against Bus Driver Who Smashed Into Buffaloes
The Punjab and Haryana High Court declined to quash an FIR against a bus driver who smashed his vehicle into a calved and young buffalo, resulting in the death of the one and injury of another.
The petitioner was accused of driving a bus in a rash and negligent manner at a high speed and smashing the bus into buffaloes/calves going on the side of the road, which resulted in the death of one buffalo and injury to another.
The complainant had untied the buffaloes from his house and tied them in the fields where the accident occurred. The petitioner claimed that he had entered into a compromise with the complainant vide a compromise deed.
The petitioner filed a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking to quash an FIR registered for offences under Sections 279 and 429 of the IPC.
A Single Bench of Justice Harsh Bunger observed, “In my view, animals may be mute but we as a society have to speak on their behalf and no pain or agony should be caused to the animals. Cruelty to animals also cause psychological pain to them. Animals breath like humans and have emotions; they require food, water, shelter, normal behavior, medical care, self-determination.”
Advocate J.S. Bhinder represented the petitioner, while AAG Sanjeev Soni appeared for the respondents.
The Court remarked that the compromise deed indicated that the charges had already been framed against the petitioner and some of the prosecution witnesses were already examined.
The Court stated that animals cannot be treated merely as property because animals have “a right to life and bodily integrity, honor and dignity.”
The Court held, “It will not be open for this Court to exercise its power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing of FIR only on the basis of compromise.”
Accordingly, the High Court rejected the petition.
Cause Title: Sohan Singh v. State of Punjab & Ors. (2024:PHHC:014284)
Petitioner: Advocate J.S. Bhinder
Respondents: Additional A.G. Sanjeev Soni and Advocate Sukhmeet Singh