The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside an FIR against a registered dealer of hide and skin of dead animals. A bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice MG Giratkar was hearing a criminal application filed by 62-year-old Nagpur resident Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Kareem.
He has a huge godown in the name of M/s Baba Traders, where he conducts his business. The certificate of registration issued by the Sales Tax Department was also submitted before the court along with the application.
According to the prosecution, one PSI Dorlikar received ‘secret information’ about the applicant’s godown. There, the police found 4,200 pieces of hide and skin of dead animals, and 1,500 tin cans of processed fats stored.
The required papers for keeping such quantity of hide and skin were not with the applicant. On PSI Dorlikar’s report, the crime for the offence punishable under Section 429 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 9 and 11 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, came to be registered.
Senior advocate Anil Mardikar appeared for the applicant, he submitted that his client was being framed and had nothing to do with the said offences. He said the FIR was registered by the police station without bothering to find out whether the offences were made out against the applicant.
According to the applicant, other people who are in the same business requested Kareem to allow them to store their stock (of hide and skin) on a rental basis. Thus, the applicant due to relations did not ask for any receipt or documents as to how they have procured the said quantity or skin and hide of dead animals. Therefore, only for this reason, such a huge quantity of hide and skin of dead animals was found in the godown of the applicant.
After perusing through sections 5A, 5B, 5C, 9, 9A, 11 of the said Act, the court observed: “From the perusal of record and submissions of applicant, it is clear that he is doing the business of hide and skin of dead animals, therefore, applicant cannot be punished under Section 9 and 11 of the Act. Business of hide and skin is not prohibited under the said Act.”
The court also referred to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana vs Bhajan Lal 1992, wherein it was held that if the first information report prima facie does not disclose any offence, then the high court can quash the first information report.
Thus, the court held that offences under the said Act could not be made out against the applicant, so the FIR was quashed and set aside.