The Jodhpur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court emphasized that the presence of intention is crucial for constituting an offense according to Section 3 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 (Act).
The accused company, Sujlon Infrastructure, owned by the Petitioner, faced allegations of dumping polythene at the grazing grounds utilized by the Complainant's cattle. The Court highlighted the absence of evidence indicating that the Petitioner's employees deliberately placed polythene in the areas where the cows graze.
“Section 2(m) of the Act defines slaughter as intentional killing by any method and for any purpose, whatever it may be, thus, in order to constitute an offence under Section 3 of the Act, intention is an essential ingredient”, the Bench of Justice Farjand Ali observed.
Advocate Akhilesh Rajpurohit represented the Petitioners, while Deputy General Advocate Mukhtiyar Khan appeared on behalf of the Respondent (State).
The Petitioner's company, Sujlon Infrastructure, faced accusations of dumping polythene at the location where the complainant party grazed their cattle. The company refuted the claims, asserting that the disposal of waste was in accordance with applicable regulations. Despite the police filing a negative final report, the complainant lodged a protest petition. Subsequently, the Trial Court acknowledged the offenses under Sections 3 and 8 of the Act against the Petitioner. Dissatisfied with this decision, the Petitioner approached the High Court to challenge the order.
The Court highlighted that Section 3 of the Act expressly prohibits the slaughter of any bovine animal. Referencing Section 2(m) of the Act, which defines slaughter as the deliberate killing of a bovine animal by any means and for any objective, the Court emphasized that intention forms a crucial element for constituting an offense under Section 3 of the Act.
The Bench also noted that the principle of vicarious liability doesn't hold in this instance. Vicarious liability, a legal concept assigning responsibility to an employer for their employees' wrongful actions within their job scope, doesn't apply due to the absence of evidence indicating the Petitioner's employees deliberately deposited polythene in the grazing area of the cows. Moreover, considering the Petitioner wasn't present in the same city as the plant/factory/site, it's unclear how they could be held accountable for an animal's death caused by choking due to ingesting polythene.
"It not comprehensible how an owner or head of the company who might not even be in the same city as the plant/factory/site can be held responsible for an animal dying due to choking owing to swallowing of a polythene which can fly from anywhere and get stuck/ accumulated at another place", the Bench added.
Moreover, the Court highlighted that in considering the quashing of criminal proceedings under Section 482 of the CrPC, the High Court's duty isn't to delve into an exhaustive investigation to ascertain the veracity of the FIR's allegations. Rather, its role is to evaluate whether the allegations, on their face, are adequate to establish a case against the accused. The negative final report filed by the investigating agency suggests a lack of evidence supporting the allegations against the petitioner.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Petition.
Cause Title: Ketan Soni v State Of Rajasthan
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