3 Jun 2022 10:23 AM GMT
Almost 14 years after an Elephant died due to electrocution, the Karnataka High Court has upheld the conviction handed down to two persons who put up electric fencing around their agricultural land which led to the elephant's death. A single judge bench of Justice Mohammad Nawaz upheld the conviction handed down to the accused Srinivasa and Basavaraju under Sections 138(1)(a) of...
Almost 14 years after an Elephant died due to electrocution, the Karnataka High Court has upheld the conviction handed down to two persons who put up electric fencing around their agricultural land which led to the elephant's death.
A single judge bench of Justice Mohammad Nawaz upheld the conviction handed down to the accused Srinivasa and Basavaraju under Sections 138(1)(a) of the Electricity Act 2003 and Section 429 of IPC. However, the Court set aside the conviction and sentence under Section 9 r/w Section 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act.
The convicts had approached the Court in appeal challenging an order dated June 22, 2011 of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, wherein they were convicted and sentenced for the aforesaid offences.
As per the prosecution, the Watcher in the Forest Department found a dead elephant on the land of one Sundar Das, and noticed that there was a solar fence put up around the land and there was a pump house and from the said pump house, electric connection had been taken unauthorizedly to the solar fence.
He passed the information to the Range Forest Officer in Antharasanthe WildLife Range, who after confirming that the elephant had died coming into contact with the electric fence put up around the land, lodged a complaint.
The Investigation Officer filed a charge-sheet against the accused/appellants and after examination of witnesses and recording of evidence, the trial court held the accused guilty and convicted them.
The counsel for the accused contended that the accused are not the owners of the land in question and there is no evidence to show that they were either cultivating the land or that they have erected electric fencing in the land in question, nothing worthwhile is elicited from the prosecution witnesses to disbelieve their evidence.
However, the Court on perusing the evidence of the witnesses said, the Court noted that the land in question was taken on lease by the accused persons and they were cultivating the said land. "The material on record also discloses that an electric fence was put up around the land and the elephant came in contact with the said fence and died due to electrocution," it added.
As regards to the submission that the trial Court was not proper in convicting the appellant under the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, as there is no complaint filed by an authorised officer and therefore, cognizance for the offence under the said Act could not have been taken, the bench said,
"The complaint was lodged by P.W.1 i.e., Range Forest Officer before the Police and on completion of the investigation, charge-sheet was filed and on the basis of the charge-sheet, the learned Magistrate took cognizance and therefore the cognizance was not on a complaint, which is defined under Section 2(d) of Cr.P.C. Hence, the conviction of the accused for the offence punishable under Section 9 r/w Section 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act is not sustainable in law."
Following which, it modified the conviction order passed by the trial court. It also modified the sentence imposed under section 429 IPC and directed the convicts to pay a fine of `10,000 and in default of payment of fine, shall undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 6 [six] months.
Case Title: SRINIVASA and ANR v STATE BY BEECHANALLI POLICE STATION.
Case No: CRIMINAL APPEAL No.716 OF 2011
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 188
Date of Order: 27TH DAY OF MAY, 2022
Appearance: Advocate Y.D. HARSHA for appellants; HCGP R.D. RENUKARADHYA for respondent.
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