Habitual poacher gets no HC relief on consecutive sentences

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Mumbai, Jan 5 (PTI) Crime against humans can be noticed and traced out but crime against wild animals is very difficult to detect and, hence, needs to be dealt with sternly, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court said while refusing to permit three separate sentences awarded to a convicted poacher to run concurrently instead of consecutively.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Pushpa Ganediwala on Monday dismissed a petition filed by 33-year-old Rahul Pardhi, convicted in three offences of wildlife poaching and sentenced to three years imprisonment in each of them by three different magistrate courts between April and August 2017.

Pardhi, who has already undergone six years of his cumulative nine year sentence, in his plea sought directions for concurrent running of the three sentences imposed on him instead of consecutively.

The bench, in its order, noted that Pardhi was the kingpin of a racket that is active in wildlife trafficking and that while he has been convicted in three offences, one does not know how many tigers and other scheduled wildlife he might have hunted and killed.

'Crime against the human body can immediately be noticed and traced out, but crime in the forest area against wild animals is very difficult to get noticed and detected,' the court said.

Pardhi was convicted under the Indian Penal Code and Wildlife (Protection) Act for hunting, killing and selling the skin, nails and teeth of tigers across forested areas in Nagpur.

Pardhi, in his plea, asked the HC to show leniency and give him a chance to reform.

Additional public prosecutor M K Pathan, however, opposed the plea and said Pardi was an active member of a gang infamous for hunting tigers in central India.

He said the petitioner was a habitual offender and, hence. beyond reformation.

The bench, in its order, noted that if released earlier there would be less chances of Pardhi reforming.

'There is no assurance that after spending lesser time than is required in jail, he would not join the dangerous profession of poaching again,' the court said.

'If a habitual and compulsive wildlife offender like the petitioner is made to suffer the sentences consecutively, then it sends a message to the society that professional poachers are dealt with sternly,' the court said. PTI SP BNM BNM