‘Even if, the ox died of the injuries suffered by the relentless lathi blows by the accused Narayan, but the same was a result of sudden and explicable outbreak of anguish of a tribal, on finding his field being ruined or damaged by the ox.’
The Rajasthan High Court recently acquitted a man accused of killing an ox, which is an offence in the state attracting imprisonment up to 10 years.
The Rajasthan Preservation of Certain Animals Act, which was enacted in 1950, penalizes intentional killing of a bull, cow, ox or calf. In this case, Narayan was accused of beating an ox belonging to Arjun, the complainant, when it entered his corn-cultivated field. The trial court convicted Narayan and sentenced him to two years and six months’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 1,000.
On his appeal, the high court observed that provisions in the Act are attracted only in case of intentional killing and that a person can be convicted if he premeditatedly or purposely causes serious bodily injury to a bull, cow or calf etc.
“While framing the charge against the accused-appellant, the trial Court remained completely oblivious of the basic ingredient of Section 2 of the Act of 1950, which renders the intention to kill or hurt, as a sine qua non for the offence. Even the Act of 1995, which has been enacted especially to deal with offences against the bovine, does not include the incidental beating resulting into death of a bovine, within the precincts of an offence,” the court said.
Perusing the evidence on record, the court observed that the death of the ox was not caused by the lathi blows alone and that ox had fallen into the drain and the body recovered therefrom cannot be lost sight of. “Even if, the ox died of the injuries suffered by the relentless lathi blows by the accused Narayan, but the same was a result of sudden and explicable outbreak of anguish of a tribal, on finding his field being ruined or damaged by the ox. He seems to have given 4-5 lathi blows to the ox apparently, in a bid to drive it off the field. In the present factual matrix, his motive to kill the ox cannot be inferred,” the court said.
Acquitting the accused, the court declared that the death of the ox was an accidental death, and not an intentional slaying as there is no evidence to show that the accused had given the lathi blows with an ill-will to kill the ox nor does the injury report evince any blow on the vital parts or organs of the ox. The court also added that death of the ox could be caused due to falling in the drain, coupled with continuous bleeding caused due to lathi blows.