Two senior citizens have approached the Bombay high court seeking relief after they were booked by the police under the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder after the pet dog of one of the men mauled his gardener, thus, leading to his death.
The petitioners, Tanaji Shedge and S Subbarao, residents of Pune and Raigad, have filed a petition claiming that the charge under Section 304 is unwarranted and that the FIR against them be quashed.
According to their plea filed through their counsel advocate Nitin Sejpal, Shedge, an agriculturist who resides in Pune, had let out his Raigad farmhouse on rent to Subbarao, a retired banker.
Subbarao has kept several dogs as pets at the farmhouse and on August 21 last year, his gardener Tukaram Surve was attacked by one of Subbarao’s pet dogs. By the time, Surve was rushed to the local primary health centre, he was dead. Surve’s son then filed a police complaint against both Shedge and Subbarao and the police booked them under section 304 IPC on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under section 106 of the Bombay Police Act under the charge of “letting loose one’s horses or ferocious dogs”.
In his complaint, Surve’s son alleged Subbarao’s dogs were not fed on time and thus, had been provoked and thus, Subbarao must be held liable for Surve’s death. However, Subbarao argued in his plea that his dogs were well trained and cared for, were vaccinated regularly and well fed.” He has claimed Surve went inside the dog yard while the “dogs were having their food, even though he had been warned against doing so on several previous occasions”. “He provoked the dogs and when they began barking, he started to run in the opposite direction. One of the dogs thus, got incited and attacked him,” Subbarao said. He also claimed since he was not home at the time, his domestic help rushed Surve to the health centre and that he paid Rs1 lakh to Surve’s family after his death. Subbarao said that at best he could be charged for negligence but not for culpable homicide not amounting to murder—a charge that entails a sentence between ten years and life imprisonment.
Shedge meanwhile, has urged the high court to quash all charges against him considering that he only let out his farmhouse on rent and that he was not even present at the accident site and instead, was in his house in Pune at the time.
Shedge has claimed the charges against him are “malafide and that he has been charged at the behest of locals”. A bench of justice Ranjit More and justice VL Achiliya have now issued notices to the cops.