Orissa High Court: S.K. Panigrahi J., granted bail to an accused of animal trafficking under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 on the facts and submissions of the case.

The facts are that on 19.05.2020 patrolling staff of Kuntuni range forest area received information regarding the transportation of pangolin in a scooty having no number plate. The scooty was chased and caught, the live pangolin was rescued and the driver detained on not being able to produce valid documents regarding the same. On further investigation, it was revealed that the present petitioner is also involved. They were registered for alleged offences under Sections 9, 39, 44 and 49 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 Amended and punishable under Section 51 of the said Act and is in custody. Hence the instant application is filed praying for bail.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner is a teacher by profession and has been framed and has no complicity in the offence. He further submitted that the accused has no direct link with the crime as he only gave certain phone numbers having no idea about the crime and is fit to be granted bail.

Counsel for the respondents submitted that such offences require to be dealt strictly by court as the pangolins are close to extinction due to being exposed to rampant trafficking and poaching.

After hearing both sides the court held that though animal trafficking is a serious crime and has to be stopped but given due consideration to the present facts and submissions Court granted bail.

In view of the above, application was disposed off.[Shyamsundar Behera v. State of Orissa, 2020 SCC OnLine Ori 595, decided on 10-08-2020]

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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