THE Rajasthan High Court on October 30, 2019 quashed the First Information Report (FIR) and the charge sheet filed against vehicle driver and two sons of deceased Pehlu Khan who was allegedly lynched in Alwar district in April 2017 by a mob of cow vigilantes.
Pehlu Khan’s two sons and the vehicle driver had been booked for transporting the bovines for the purpose of slaughtering. They had approached the High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) seeking quashing of the case against them.
“In my considered view, milching cows with two calves aged one to three months worth Rs.45,000/- cannot be transported for the purpose of slaughtering. There is nothing on record to show that the bovine were being transported for the purpose of slaughtering”, said Justice Pankaj Bhandari while quashing the FIR and the charge-sheet.
The High Court further observed that the continuation of proceedings against petitioner no.1 who was driver of the pick-up and petitioner Nos.2 and 3 who are son of deceased Pahalu Khan who died on account of attack by the mob would tantamount to abuse of process of law more particularly when petitioner No.2 had purchased the milching cows with their calves for Rs.45,000/-.
The accused had submitted before that High Court that two milching cows and calves were purchased by petitioner No.2 for Rs.45,000/- for the purpose of milching, the same were not transported for slaughtering as cows were milching cows and calves were only one to three months old.
It was also contended by the accused that only to protect the mob, which has committed the offence of lynching, police had registered a case under the Bovine Act against the petitioners and deceased Pahalu Khan.
In August this year, a court in Alwar acquitted all the six accused in the lynching case, giving them the benefit of doubt.
The Rajasthan government had said it would challenge the judgment. A special investigation team set up by the state government to look into the case found multiple lapses in the police inquiry.