Court Revokes Bail For Tiger Poachers After Special Public Prosecutor Intervenes
In a surprising turn of events that remains unprecedented in the history of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, a Nagpur Court withdrew its own initiative to release tiger poachers Mamru Patlepawar, Chika Patlepawar, and Shiri Chawhan, on bail, after considering the objections raised by Advocate Kartik N. Shukul, who represented the state of Maharashtra in the case.
Section 436-A normally, if not always, is initiated on an application by the accused for the grant of bail. Strangely, in this case, it was initiated not by the accused, but by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) suo-moto. Furthermore, once initiated, the courts grant bail to the accused only when a substantial period of the prescribed punishment is over.
However, Shukul opposed this initiative of the court and requested that the state be given an opportunity to argue against the proposed release of the poachers. He argued that if the period of delay (two years in this particular case) is deducted while computing the detention period, as prescribed under Section 436-A, the minimum detention period would not be met by the poachers, thus leaving them unqualified to apply for bail.
Shukul also stated that the poachers were nomadic people belonging to the Pardhi/Bahelia community, and did not have any permanent residence or immovable property to their names. If released on bail, Shukul forewarned the court of the possibility of the accused evading further trials. He further strengthened his case by asserting that the accused were habitual offenders who routinely engaged in illegal activities and crimes punishable under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
Therefore, accepting Shukul’s arguments in an order dated March 15, 2017, the court withdrew its initiative to grant bail to the accused. A detailed note on the issue is available here