The Karnataka High Court on Friday held that offences of rash driving or mischief of killing animals under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and offences under Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act) will not be attracted in the event of an accident involving pet animals..Single-judge Justice Suraj Govindraj held that the offence of rash driving under Section 279 of the IPC recognises injury to human beings only and the provision would not be attracted in case of accident caused to an animal while driving a vehicle."The provision does not recognize and/or make an offence any injury caused otherwise than to human being. Thus, insofar as the injury or death caused to the pet or animal is concerned, the same would not amount to an offence in terms of Section 279 of IPC," the Court held.If the same is extended to injury or death of animal, then it would lead to a situation where even the offence of murder under Section 302 of IPC would be attracted, which was not the purport and intent of IPC, the Court said.Same reasoning was extended for Section 134 of the Motor Vehicles Act which the Court held was applicable only when it comes to injuries to human beings and not animals. "I am of the considered opinion that the said provision relates only to injury to a person, a dog/animal not being a person would not come within the ambit of Section 134 (a) and (b) of MV Act," the Court said.Similarly, for attracting the offences of mischief of killing animal under Sections 428 and 429 of the IPC an animus and/or intention is required to be established, the Court said."Mere knowing that there is likely to cause an accident is not sufficient. There has to be an intent to cause wrongful loss or damage," the Court said..FactsOn February 24, 2018, when the complainant’s mother had taken her pets for a walk as per her routine, a Fortuner SUV vehicle hit one of the pet dogs. The complainant’s brother-in-law and sister took the pet dog - Memphi to a Veterinary Clinic but the pet dog was declared dead. The complainant called the police helpline who sent two policemen to the spot who verified what had happened and thereafter the complainant registered a complaint with the Vijayanagara Police Station against the driver of the Fortuner car for offences punishable under Section 134 and 187 of MV Act and Sections 279, 428 and 429 of IPC. The investigating officer conducted the investigation and filed a charge sheet against the petitioner who then moved the High Court seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against him. .The petitioner submitted that he was innocent since there was no mens rea on part of the petitioner to cause injury or harm to the pet dog. The dog being on the road while the petitioner was driving has resulted in the accident.The respondent submitted that the petitioner ought to known that the action would have resulted in an accident which could have grave consequence since the petitioner was driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner.It was further submitted that the accident took place in a residential area where it is a normal practice for people to go for a walk along with their pets. Hence, anyone driving vehicle in the area should be cautious and careful and maintain a minimum speed and should not drive very fast.The petitioner was, however, driving the vehicle at 60 km per hour which was beyond the stipulated speed limit, and this resulted in the accident..The Court framed five legal questions and answered them as follows:.Whether an offence under Section 134 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 would get attracted in the event of an accident involving a pet animal?Section 134 lays down the duty of a driver in case of an accident and injury to a person and states the driver of the vehicle causing the accident or any person in charge of the vehicle is required to secure the medical attention to the injured person as also to give on demand by a police officer any information required including the circumstances if any for not taking any reasonable steps for medical assistance.The Court ruled that such injury is relatable to human beings and not animals and hence, the provision would not be attracted..Whether an offence under Section 187 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 would get attracted in the event of an accident involving a pet animal?.Section 187 provides for punishment in case of non-compliance with Sections 132(1)(c), 133 or 134 of the MV Act. Section 132(1)(c) mandates that when a vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver of the motor vehicle should keep the said vehicle stationary, if so required by any police officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector in uniform.In the present case, there was no allegation as regards any such request made by a police officer and hence the violation of the same did not arise.Section 133 is made out if a driver does not provide information on demand by any police officer authorized in this behalf by the State government.In the present case, the complaint did not indicate any demand made by any police officer and/or refusal by the petitioner to give such information, the Court noted. Hence, no offence was made out under the same, the Court. Section 134 lays down the duty of a driver in case of an accident and injury to a person as explained in the first question. The said provision also being ruled out, the Court concluded that Section 187 violation did not arise in the present case..Whether an offence under Section 279 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 could be said to have occurred if the accident involved a pet dog and not a human being?.Section 279 lays down the offence of rash driving or riding on a public way.The Court said that though the heading of the provision is wide, the content of the provision made it clear that the same would apply only in case of injury to human beings. "Though the heading of the Section is rash driving or riding on a public way, the same is only a heading. What is required to be seen is the contents of the provision. The above provision does not recognize and/or make an offence any injury caused otherwise than to human being. Thus, insofar as the injury or death caused to the pet or animal is concerned, the same would not amount to an offence in terms of Section 279 of IPC," the Court made it clear.The penal provision of Section 279 of IPC if read and understood in its literal sense which is the interpretation required to be given to all penal provisions, endangering a pet or causing hurt or injury to a pet/animal would not be one, which is punishable under the provision, the Court underscored..For an offence to be alleged under Section 428 and 429 of IPC there is an animus and/or intention which is required to be established?The Court answered this in the affirmative.It noted that for an offence under Section 428, a person is to commit mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animal or animals of the value of ₹10 or upwards. Thus, destruction or diminution in value or utility is to be caused by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animal.An offence under Section 429 of IPC results when a person commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox whatever may be the value of the animal, or any other animal of the value of ₹50 or upwards.The Court held that the general principles of criminal law which would be applicable for any offence under IPC, would apply to both these provisions and hence there must be a mens rea which is required to be established."Without such means rea or when animus to commit an offence is absent, it cannot be said that an offence under Section 428 or Section 429 of IPC has occurred," the Court ruled.ConclusionIn view of the above, the Court quashed all criminal proceedings against the petitioner in connection with the accident.