| Some Recent Cases
The Gujarat Lion Poaching Case
26 February 2009, the Chief Judicial Magristrate in Bhavnagar, Gujarat,
sentenced nine men and seven women to five years imprisonment and a
fine of Rs. 2,000/- for poaching eight critically endangered Asiatic
lions in Gir National Park in 2007. The Government of Gujarat appointed
a WPSI lawyer as the Principal Legal Advisor for this case. Twenty more
people were sentenced in a a related lion poaching case in October
2008. Both cases were notable for the speed with which the trials were
concluded and the political will to ensure that the poachers did not
escape with an acquittal.
State of Madhya Pradesh v. Dariya and another
tiger poacher Dariya and his wife Bhagwati were convicted under the
Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, on 28 July 2010 in Madhya Pradesh.
The trial of this case had been pending for more than 21 years. Dariya
was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.
10,000/- while his wife Bhagwati was sentenced to the same quantum of
punishment, with one and a half years of probation. The prosecution of
this case was conducted on behalf of the Forest Department by Advocate
Ms Manjula Shrivastava.
Corbett Road Case
successfully intervened in a public interest litigation in the
Uttarakhand High Court seeking the construction of a road through
Corbett Tiger Reserve. The court dismissed the petition on 3 September
2010, based on our intervention that the matter had already been
litigated and decided on by the Supreme Court of India in an older case
to which WPSI was also a party.
Sansar Chand v. State of Rajasthan
successfully intervened in Sansar Chand v. State of Rajasthan and
others in the Supreme Court of India. This was an appeal by Sansar
Chand, a notorious wildlife trader, challenging his conviction and
sentence of five years by an Ajmer Court in April 2004. The court
dismissed the appeal and confirmed the conviction on 21 October 2010.
The final judgment sets a strong precedent for other courts and
enforcement authorities to follow.
State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ittu Baiga and others
15 November 2010 in Katni, Madhya Pradesh, three poachers, Ittu Baiga,
Bahilal Baiga, and Iqbal (alias Atiq Ahmed), were sentenced to rigorous
imprisonment of six years each and a fine of Rs. 10,000 each under the
Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. On 25 June 2009, the three had
poisoned a water-hole in the Dhimarkheda Range of Katni Forest Division
with an organo-phosphate pesticide (phosphamidan) which led to the
death of nine wild animals including three leopards, two civet cats, a
spotted deer and a langur monkey. One of the poachers, Iqbal, is still
absconding. On appeal before the Sessions Court, the convictions were
upheld on 13 September 2011. The prosecution of this case was conducted
on behalf of the Forest Department by Advocate Ms Manjula Shrivastava.