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Background

  • The name of the case is Anto Augustine And Ors. V. State of Kerala.
  • A trio of entrepreneurs, having branches of various businesses across the State, was accused of felling centuries old rosewood trees from a reserved forest.
  • It was alleged that they were involved in cutting down trees and transporting 54 logs of rosewood trees without a valid permit.
  • The applicants had cut and removed trees worth Rs. 8 crores without taking consent from the Revenue Department.
  • The proceedings were initiated under Kerala Land Conservancy Act.
  • The prime accused in illegal rosewood tree felling and smuggling case has filed a bail application.

Contentions of Applicant

  • The applicants contended that since the property belonged to them, there is no requirement of acquiring prior permission of any authority.
  • A govt. order of the village officer was presented before the Court to substantiate their stand.
  • They also presented two govt. orders which had clarified that the owner is entitled for cutting and removing trees from non-notified lands excluding sandalwood.
  • The petitioners had removed 5 rosewood trees on their private property and traded with an authorised trader.
  • The de facto complainant is misusing his powers as an officer in the Revenue Department to implicate the petitioners.

Submissions in Bail Application

  • The basic ingredients of the offences are not attracted in the case.
  • They were arrested when they were en route to their mother’s funeral and have been held in custody since then.
  • The charges are factually incorrect and made with ulterior motives.
  • The alleged offence occurred in December 2020 whereas there was an unexplained delay of 7 months in filing an FIR.
  • The arrest was done without a proper investigation.

What is do you think about the applicants being granted bail? Tell us in the comments section below!

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