November 22, 2020 2:49:05 am
The Supreme Court has upheld the Allahabad High Court order which said that no one can be prosecuted upon declaration of acquisition or possession of exotic wildlife species between June and December, under the Centre’s amnesty scheme.
The government’s amnesty scheme is aimed at developing an inventory of exotic live species within India, regulating their import and maintaining stock of imported exotic live species, to maintain statutory records of stock, change in stock due to any death, transfer within India, and acquisition of further stock.
The Allahabad High Court held that it will not be open for DRI, or any other agency, to investigate and prosecute anyone making such declarations during the six-month window.
“The Central Government, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, through Wildlife Division has already introduced the “voluntary disclosure scheme” in wider public interest by announcing immunity for a limited window of six months to promote and invite voluntary disclosure declaration from all concerned. The scheme so introduced by the Central Government shall be promoted by all the departments in wider public interest,” the HC had earlier said.
“In this period of six months, whosoever declares the stock of exotic species and thereby submits himself to registration and further requirements of the scheme, shall have immunity from any inquiry into source of licit acquisition or possession of the voluntarily declared stock of exotic pecies” the High Court had ruled.
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