December 27, 2023
Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita: Stringent Measures for Pet Animal Attacks
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) has introduced a significant amendment regarding pet animal attacks, enforcing stricter penalties for pet owners. Replacing the Indian Penal Code (IPC), this revision under Section 291 of the BNS carries implications for pet owners whose animals cause harm to individuals.
- Under Section 291 of the BNS, individuals failing to take adequate measures to prevent potential harm from their animals can face penalties of up to Rs 5,000 in fines and a maximum imprisonment of six months. This section specifically addresses negligent conduct concerning animals, outlining punishments for those who omit necessary precautions, endangering human life or risking grievous harm from their pets.
- The former Section 289 of the IPC mirrored Section 291 of the BNS but imposed a comparatively lighter fine of up to Rs 1,000 along with the same maximum imprisonment duration of six months.
Judicial Precedent and Public Response
- In a notable September 2022 ruling, the Supreme Court established liability for individuals regularly feeding stray dogs, should those dogs cause harm. The BNS revision has generated mixed reactions among the populace. While some have lauded the stricter measures, others criticize the perceived inadequacy of the imposed fine, citing concerns about insufficient coverage for potential treatment costs in case of an animal attack.
Alarming Trends in Animal Attacks
- The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) latest report for 2022 highlights a 19% surge in animal attacks compared to the preceding year. Of grave concern is the escalation in fatalities and injuries resulting from these incidents.
- The 2022 NCRB report reveals a distressing figure of 1,510 deaths due to animal bites, indicating a rise from the 1,264 fatalities recorded in 2021. Moreover, a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare response in the Rajya Sabha unveiled an alarming statistic of 27.6 lakh reported dog bites in 2023, depicting a staggering 26.5% increase from the previous year’s 21.8 lakh reported cases.
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita’s revised provisions reflect a more stringent approach towards pet owner responsibilities, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to prevent harm from animals. However, public opinion remains divided, highlighting concerns about the adequacy of imposed fines and the escalating instances of animal-related injuries and fatalities, urging further attention and possibly more comprehensive legislative measures.