The provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) penalising rash driving and endangering the life would not apply in a case where an animal is the victim, the Bombay High Court recently held while quashing a case against a Swiggy delivery person who had accidentally mowed down a stray dog while delivering a food parcel [Manas Mandar Godbole vs State of Maharashtra]..A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Prithviraj Chavan said that though animal lovers consider their pets as their child but they are not human beings. "While Section 279 speaks about whoever drives any vehicle so as to endanger human life, Section 337 speaks about endangering human life. No doubt, a dog/cat is treated as a child or as a family member by their owners, but basic biology tells us that they are not human beings. Sections 279 and 337 pertains to acts endangering human life, or likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person," the bench held in the order pronounced on December 20.Thus, the said provisions will have no application to the facts of this case since the essential ingredient necessary to constitute the offences were missing, the Court opined."The said sections do not recognize and make an offence any injury caused otherwise than to human being. Thus, insofar as the injury/death caused to the pet / animal is concerned, the same would not constitute offences under Sections 279 & 337 of the Indian Penal Code," the bench ruled.Considering that the police had lodged the said prosecution despite no offence having been disclosed, the judges directed the State Government to pay costs of ₹20,000 to the petitioner, which shall have to be recovered from the salary of the concerned officers responsible for lodging the FIR and later approving filing of the chargesheet..As per the fact of the case, the petitioner-applicant was 18 years of age at the relevant time, when he was on his way to delivery a food parcel. The complainant was feeding some stray dogs on the streets of the plush Marine Drive area in Mumbai. The dog suddenly came in front of the motorbike of the applicant, due to which, it was injured and later died.The applicant also fell down and was injured in the accident. The complainant then filed a complaint against the applicant, who was pursuing his Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunication at that time.The police lodged a first information report (FIR) against him invoking Sections 297 (rash driving), 337 (endangering human life) and 429 (Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc. of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees) of the IPC. The Police also invoked Sections 184 (driving dangerously) of the Motor Vehicles Act and section 11A and B (treating animals cruelly) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act..The Bench noted that there was no intent whatsoever of the petitioner to cause the death of the dog which crossed the road when he was on his bike, en route to deliver a food parcel. "Nothing is shown by the prosecution to show that the petitioner was driving beyond the speed limit stipulated on the said road. The incident shows that the dog crossed the road, as a result of which, the petitioner’s bike due to sudden braking, skidded and as such the petitioner sustained injuries on his person in the said incident and the dog got injured and later succumbed to the same," the bench noted.Therefore, no offences as alleged in the FIR are made out against the petitioner and the same cannot sustain in law, the judges opined.It pulled up the Police for registering the FIR 'without applying its mind.'"How Sections 279, 337, 429 could have been applied to the case in hand, even from a bare perusal of these Sections, defies logic. The police being the custodian of law, need to be more circumspect and cautious whilst registering FIRs and of course later, whilst filing chargesheet," the bench held.With these observations, the judges quashed the FIR.