Time Limit Under Rule 4(2) Of Declaration Of Wild Life Stock Rules Cannot Be Relaxed : Supreme Court

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21 March 2023 11:27 AM GMT

  • Time Limit Under Rule 4(2) Of Declaration Of Wild Life Stock Rules Cannot Be Relaxed : Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court has held that the time for making a declaration of the possession of any wild animal or animal article as per the Wild Life Stock Rules 2003 cannot be relaxed.According to Section 40 of the Wildlife(Protection) Act 1972, every person having at the commencement of this Act the control, custody or possession of any captive animal specified in Schedule I or Part...

    The Supreme Court has held that the time for making a declaration of the possession of any wild animal or animal article as per the Wild Life Stock Rules 2003 cannot be relaxed.

    According to Section 40 of the Wildlife(Protection) Act 1972, every person having at the commencement of this Act the control, custody or possession of any captive animal specified in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II or animal article, shall, within thirty days from the commencement of this Act, make a declaration to the Chief Wild Life Warden or the authorised officer. Failure to do so will constitute an offence.

    Section 40A however grants an immunity, if the declaration is made within the extended time as specified by the Central Government. In 2003, the Central Government notified thee Declaration of Wild Life Stock Rules, 2003. Rule 4(2) of the said Rules specified that such declaration has to be made within 180 days from the date on which the rules came to be published, which is 18.04.2003. The Supreme Court has held that this time of 180 days specified in Rule 4(2) is mandatory and cannot be extended.

    A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Manoj Misra was deciding an appeal filed by a private party challenging the decision of the Kerala High Court which refused to relax this time limit. Earlier, a single judge of the High Court had directed the authorities to consider the declaration made by the party beyond the specified time limit. However, in an intra-court appeal filed by the State, the division bench reversed it.

    The Supreme Court affirmed the division bench's ruling and dismissed the appeal.

    Case Title : Vishalakshi Amma vs State of Kerala

    Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 215

    Wildlife (Protection Act) 1972- Declaration of Wild Life Stock Rules, 2003- As per Rule 4(2), application/declaration under subĀ­rule (1) of Rule 4 for ownership certificate has to be made within a period of 180 days from the date of commencement of the Rules, 2003. Looking to the object and purpose of Sections 40 and 40A and the object and purpose for which Rules, 2003 has been enacted the period of 180 days prescribed under Rule 4(2) has to be construed and considered as mandatory, otherwise the object and purpose of the Act, 1972 and the Rules, 2003 shall be frustrated- Para 5

    once a person in control, custody or possession of any wildlife animal or wildlife animal article, fails to file such declaration and/or fails to make any application within the stipulated time mentioned in Rule 4(2) then the bar/rigour under Section 40 shall be applicable and the ownership of such wildlife animal article of which the declaration is not made shall vest in the Government/forest department - Para 5.1

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