Chinkara killing case | Pay half of fine to informer, says Rajasthan court

This would encourage more people to report the killing of endangered animals to the authorities, says court

Updated - July 05, 2023 11:47 pm IST

Published - July 05, 2023 09:46 pm IST - JAIPUR

Chinkara or Indian gazelle is the State animal of Rajasthan. File

Chinkara or Indian gazelle is the State animal of Rajasthan. File | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a first-of-its-kind judgment, a sessions court in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district has ordered the payment of half of the fine amount, imposed on a convict in a chinkara killing case, to the informer as a prize for helping in the detection of crime against wildlife. The court said it would make the society sensitive to wildlife protection.

Chinkara or Indian gazelle is the State animal of Rajasthan. A Judicial Magistrate’s court in Rawatsar had last year sentenced Mana Ram to three years’ imprisonment with a fine of ₹1,000 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, for killing a chinkara on July 12, 2011. The sentence was suspended on the same day and the convict was released on bail.

Mana Ram was arrested after policemen at Dhannasar post were tipped off by informer Rajendra Bishnoi that the former was seen on a camel cart with the carcass of a chinkara. Mana Ram admitted to having hunted the chinkara with his licensed gun and having burnt its horns and some other parts of its body near the scene of the crime.

Following his conviction by the Magistrate’s court, Mana Ram moved an appeal in the court of the Additional District & Sessions Judge at Nohar. Judge Rajendra Choudhary upheld his conviction and sentence on Monday, while dismissing his appeal, and directed that 50% of the amount of fine be paid to Mr. Bishnoi as a prize, as it would encourage the people to report the killing of endangered animals to the authorities.

Mana Ram’s counsel raised the plea of the failure of the police to seize his gun while contending that his client was falsely implicated in the crime. The court rejected the argument, while citing a Supreme Court judgment of 2021, holding that mere non-seizure of a weapon could not be a ground to acquit an accused when his presence and use of firearm had been established and proved.

A report of the Forensic Science Laboratory, which examined the samples collected from the carcass, had confirmed that the dead animal was a chinkara.

The court said in its 12-page judgment that though the Wildlife Protection Act had declared the hunting of scheduled species of wild animals a serious offence, the incidents of killing them were still being reported. The court praised Mr. Bishnoi’s role in exposing the crime by his timely information, as he was one of the 12 witnesses examined by the trial court.

The Additional Sessions Judge said Section 55(c) of the Wildlife Protection Act empowered the court to take cognisance of an offence on the complaint of a private person. Besides, Article 51A (g) of the Constitution had laid down that the protection of wildlife and having compassion for living creatures was a fundamental duty of the citizens, the court said.

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