|Apex Court rejects Sansar Chand’s plea
October 20, 2010
Delhi: The Supreme Court of India this morning upheld the judgment of
subordinate courts in Rajasthan on the conviction of notorious wildlife
trader Sansar Chand in a case pertaining to the seizure of leopard
parts in 2003.
Two leopard skins were seized by the
Railway Police on January 5, 2003, at Bhilwara near Ajmer, and Sansar’s
accomplice Balwan was apprehended. Following Balwan’s interrogation,
several leopard claws and bones were also recovered.
Balwan’s confessions and the seizures, Sansar was held guilty and
sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Court of Ravi Sharma, Chief
Judicial Magistrate (Railway), Ajmer on April 29, 2004. Challenges
against this judgment were rejected by Courts in Rajasthan, in which
advocate Dr Mahendra Singh Kachhwa had assisted the prosecution on
behalf of Wildlife Trust of India.
In 2009, Sansar
eventually approached the Supreme Court through a Special Leave
Petition and a joint intervention application was filed by Wildlife
Trust of India (WTI) and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
Supreme Court has the power to nullify any judgment, decree or order
passed by any lower courts across India in case it feels that it is not
justified, in a Special Leave Petition under Act 136 of the
Constitution of India," said Saurabh Sharma, Wildlife Trust of India
lawyer. "We are pleased with the way the Supreme Court has dealt with
the matter. It is a positive step towards perceiving and treating
wildlife crime with the seriousness it deserves, and hopefully other
courts will follow this example," added Avinash Basker, Head of WPSI's
“Sansar is already serving his sentences
and has been denied bail throughout in a MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of
Organized Crime Act) case pending against him since 2005. He still has
a year and half jail term left from the sentences that have been handed
out to him, including this one. These convictions will help strengthen
the MCOCA case,” Sharma added.
This case is among the four in
which Sansar Chand has been convicted till date. His earliest
conviction for illegal wildlife trade dates back to 1974.