Kan Singh, J.
1. This is an appeal by the State against an order of acquittal passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Partabgarh, in a case under Section 3 of the Rajasthan Preservation of Certain Animals Act. 1970, hereinafter to be referred as the 'Act'.
2. The allegation against the accused respondent was that on 23-6-1968 he had hit a cow with an axe on the hind portion of its body, The blade of the axe got stuck into the body of the animal. The accused was seen running behind the cow and P. W. 1 Lalit Kumar and P. W. 6 Mukram Khan had seen the cow running ahead of the accused and the axe was sticking on it. This was pulled out by Lalit Kumar. The cow belonged to one Chhotu Ahir. The cow was taken to the veterinary doctor Rameshchandra Gupta (P. W. 2) who examined the injury of the cow. Dr. Gupta reported that the injury of the cow was serious. The report of the incident was lodged by P. W. 1 Lalit Kumar at police station Partabgarh. The police registered a case against the accused and investigated the matter. The prosecution relied mainly on the evidence of three witnesses for proving their case against the accused namely, P. W. 1 Lalit Kumar, P. W. 7 Laxman and P. W. 8 Khaiu Khan. Lalit Kumar stated that he was returning to his house from the office of the Panchayat Samiti. Partabgarh, when he had seen the cow running from what is described as 'Bada Bagh' (a garden). The cow was running towards the 'Khala' and the accused was seen running after the cow at a distance of about 50 'Panvdas' i. e. 250 feet or so. P, W. 7 Laxman stated that he had seen the cow in the 'Bada Bagh' and the accused ran after it with an axe in his hand, P. W. 8 Khaju Khan stated that he was working in the 'Bada Bagh' in which the accused was working and on the evening of the day of the incident the accused admitted before him that he had hit a cow with an axe and the cow had run away with the axe sticking on its body.
3. The learned Sessions Judge on consideration of the evidence came to the conclusion that the evidence was not reliable and was insufficient for proving the guilt of the accused. Learned Judge observed that neither Lalit Kumar nor Laxman had seen the accused hitting the cow with the axe. As regards the evidence of Khaju Khan (P. W. 8) the learned Judge observed that he did not make mention of the so-called extra judicial confession made by the accused to anyone and nor had he taken the accused to the police station. Khaiu Khan had further admitted one thing more which put his statement at a discount. It was that the police had called him to the Thana and had detained him during the night and had discharged him only on the following day at about 12 noon. The learned Judge, therefore, thought that much reliance could not be placed on Khaju Khan's testimony. There was one more witness P. W. 9 Ahmed Khan whose statement was also considered by the learned Judge. Ahmed Khan stated that the accused had snatched the axe from him before he ran after the cow. However, Ahmed Khan admitted in cross-examination that he did not make any report of this to the police against Sabir regarding his snatching the axe. Further, the learned Judge observed that Ahmed Khan had not been able to state as to when the axe was snatched by the accused. In the opinion of the learned Judge therefore, the evidence adduced by the prosecution was not sufficient.
4. Learned Counsel for the State has challenged the conclusion reached by the learned Judge.
5. We have gone through all the relevant statements and are satisfied that the learned Judge was right in not placing; any reliance on the statement of P. W. 8 Khaju Khan. It was strange that Khaju Khan did not make any mention of the extra judicial Confession made by the accused to anyone. Then the other two witnesses who had seen the accused running after the cow but not seen him actually striking the cow with the axe. Their evidence only creates a strong suspicion against the accused that perhaps it was he who had hit the cow with the axe, Even if we were to hold that it was the accused who had hit the cow with the axe, there is the further question whether this will constitute an offence under Section 3 of the Act. At this point we may read Section 3 of the Act:
Section 3. Causing serious bodily injury to a cow etc. - Whoever intentionally causes serious bodily injury to a bull, cow or calf shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.
The offence committed under this section is punishable with seven years rigorous imprisonment or with fine or with both and the gravamen of the offence is intentionally causing of a serious bodily injury to a bull, cow or calf and we underline the word 'serious' occurring therein. It is not each and every injury caused to an animal that can be said to be a serious one. The word 'serious', according to its ordinary dictionary meaning means; 'approaching the critical or dangerous' (vide Chambers Concise Dictionary). In the absence of any statutory definition of the word 'serious', we have to take it in its ordinary connotation. To our mind, an injury can be said to be a serious one if it has endangered the life of the animal or has resulted in its maiming or has otherwise disabled it or where it has resulted in immense pain to the animal for sufficient length of time.
6. Now, we have examined the statement of Dr. Rameshchandra Gupta. The doctor has, no doubt stated in his examination-in-chief that the injury was of a serious nature, but in his cross-examination he has admitted that he did not see the cow for its treatment after that day as the cow had not come to the hospital after that day. Further he stated that the owner of the cow had taken it away after he had treated it on 26-6-1966 itself. Further, the doctor could not say whether the animal was brought to him in any bullock cart or not. Further he admitted that the main artery vein had not been cut. Moreover no bone was cut or fractured. In view of this statement of the doctor, we are unable to come to a conclusion that the injury sustained by the cow was serious within the meaning of Section 3 of the Act. In the circumstances we are not inclined to interfere with the order of acquittal.
Accordingly the appeal is hereby dismissed.