Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Sentence of wildlife convict reduced

In a case which was reported in November 1997 in Delhi, a person who was caught with 1 leopard skin (initially recorded as tiger skin) was convicted by trial court for one year simple imprisonment and Rs. 10,000 fine on March 2015. In an appeal filed by the convict now sessions court has reduced his sentence and released him on probation. Court observation is as follows:

"Having upheld the conviction of accused (appellant herein) this court has further heard appellant and his counsel appearing on his behalf as well as Ld. PP, on the point of sentence. Appellant submits that he is 44 years of age. He is engaged in the business of selling wood and that he is the only bread earner in his family having wife, three school going children and aged mother dependent upon him. He is not a previous convict and no other criminal case is pending against him. It is submitted that the convict is having a permanent place of abode and is well settled in the society and he has not repeated the similar offence. It is submitted that he has faced trial for about seventeen years since July, 1998 and prayed for taking a lenient view. It is submitted that accused had remained in custody since 28.11.1997 to 22.12.1997 and thereafter w.e.f. 12.01.2013 to 05.02.2013, during trial. Ld. PP submits that ld. Trial court has already taken a lenient view and in the fact and circumstances, the convict does not deserve any lenient view.

Having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances noted above, nature of the offence, character of the offender and the fact that the convict has appeared during trial for about 17 years and has already remained in custody for a period of one and half months, coupled with the fact that appellant is not a previous convict and is not reported to be involved in any other similar case or any other criminal case. This Court is of the considered view that appellant should be given an opportunity to reform and rehabilitate himself in the society and to become a responsible citizen of State. Therefore, it is deemed expedient in the interest of justice to release appellant on probation instead of sentencing them. Appellant is ordered to be released on furnishing bond of probation in a sum of Rs. 25,000/- with one surety of like amount for a period of one year before the ld. Trial Court/successor court, apart from depositing a compensation of Rs.1.00 lac. (one lac.), which shall go to State towards taking wild life protection measures and towards defraying expenses of the protracted prosecution proceedings in this case. The appellant shall be given adjustment of the fine of Rs.10,000/-, imposed by the trial Court, if already deposited by him. In default of deposit of compensation within one week from today, convict (appellant herein) shall be liable to undergo three months Simple Imprisonment & compensation shall be recovered by attachment/sale of the immovable or movable property belonging to the appellant. Order accordingly.

In the result, appellant's conviction for the violation of Section 49 & 49-B(1) punishable u/s 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is maintained. Sentence awarded by Learned Trial Court is modified, in terms noted above. Appeal stands dismissed."

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