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HC allows third party intervention in Mohanlal’s ivory case- Mrit News

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‘Offence relates to wildlife and it cannot be said that public interest is not involved’

‘Offence relates to wildlife and it cannot be said that public interest is not involved’

Two public interest litigants, who had approached a trial court seeking to oppose the withdrawal of prosecution against actor Mohanlal in the illegal ivory possession case, have the right to intervene in the case, ordered the Kerala High Court.

The single judge of the High Court also set aside the order of the Judicial First Class Magistrate court-3, Perumbavoor, which had earlier dismissed the intervention petitions filed by A. A. Poulose of Ernakulam and James Mathew of Pathanamthitta.

The Assistant Public Prosecutor had moved a petition before the magistrate court to withdraw the criminal proceedings against the actor by stating that continuing the case would be a waste of the court’s time and a futile exercise.

However, the High Court held that the reasoning of the trial court that the petitioners had no locus standi to be heard in the petition seeking the withdrawal of prosecution was incorrect.

In her order, Justice Mary Joseph held that the petitioners were members of society, who had the right to see that the prosecution launched for an offence affecting society is withdrawn based on a valid reason.

The offence involved in the case was one relating to wildlife. Therefore, it cannot be said that public interest was not involved. The members of society cannot be denied the opportunity to intervene in the proceedings initiated for withdrawal of prosecution, the judge noted.

The magistrate court had gone wrong in dismissing the applications filed by the petitioners and the impugned order was set aside, the High Court ordered.

Case booked in 2012

The Forest Department had booked a case against Mohanlal in 2012 by invoking the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for the illegal possession of two pairs of tusks, which came to light following an income tax raid at the actor’s residence.

Abraham Meachinkara, the counsel for the petitioners, had argued that the petitioners had every locus standi to participate in the proceedings, in the light of various judgements of the Supreme Court, the Kerala High Court and other High Courts. He also argued that the withdrawal petition moved by the Assistant Public Prosecutor was not maintainable for various reasons.

The High Court, which allowed the petitioners to intervene in the proceedings, also directed the magistrate to pass appropriate orders within three weeks.

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