Tripura High Court dismisses the petition filed for issuance of writ by the GOI for protection of exotic animals, 21/09/2022

Order of the Tripura High Court in the matter of Adwitiya Chakrabarti Vs Union of India & Others dated 21/09/2022.

Adwitiya Chakrabarti a law student filed a public interest petition in the Tripura High Court with prayers to seek issuance of show cause to the respondents as to why a writ of or in nature of mandamus should not be issued declaring that possession of all exotic animals/ birds by persons (other than those who have made voluntary disclosure with the time contemplated in MoEF&CC advisory, dated June 11, 2020) is illegal and the person in possession of such exotic animals/ birds be forthwith prosecuted for violation under the Customs Act by Department of Revenue Intelligence and under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

The petitioner relied upon news articles to demonstrate that there is proliferation of trade in exotic wildlife species in Tripura.

The bench of Chief Justice of Tripura High Court Indrajit Mahanty said that the court can neither legislate nor direct the government to legislate in a particular manner.

The court "cannot direct the Central Government to forthwith make amendments against legislative will to include all exotic species in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and also in the Notifications issued under Section 11B, 123 and 135 of the Customs Act, 1962. Court can neither direct seizure/ confiscation contrary to existing provisions, nor can direct change in classification of such bailable offence to non-bailable offence, to enable arrest and prosecution of all the persons concerned with such undeclared stock of exotic animals / exotic birds" the HC said in its order, September 21, 2022.

The Tripura High Court was of the opinion that the judiciary "can neither direct, nor expect the Government to take such drastic steps in haste, without assessment of impact and without detailed study. Such amendments in statutory provisions which may result in drastic penal action against common man cannot be directed or even recommended as prayed by the petitioner".

There are sufficient safeguards available in law to prevent cruelty to animals which are also applicable to exotic species and the petition was dismissed.