A Delhi court has ordered the release of three snakes, rescued from two men, into their natural habitat and also directed the Delhi government to ensure proper staff and equipment at the 'understaffed' wildlife department.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat directed the release of the three snakes - Indian Cobra, Dhaman/Rat snake and Sand Boa - into Asola Wildlife Sanctuary.
The accused, who seized reptiles, sent to 14-days judicial custody
The reptiles, after being seized from the accused, were kept in the Delhi Zoo. The court sent the accused, Beeja Nath and Shekpal Nath, to 14 days of judicial custody and asked environment secretary to place before it the compliance report within two months.
Only two inspectors available to protect wildlife in Delhi: Report
That wildlife department under the Delhi Government was understaffed was brought to light by Environment lawyer Aditya N Prasad, who in a report submitted before the court, said apart from two wildlife inspectors, no other official/staff was available to trace and protect wildlife in Delhi.
He added that special equipment required to handle wildlife such as snakes was not available in the wildlife department.
Snakes rescued after Animal Welfare Board ex-member lodged FIR
According to the lawyer, an ex-member of the Animal Welfare Board, Sonia Ghosh, had seen the accused in possession of the snakes near Vasant Kunj police station, after which she informed the wildlife department, which could not come to the rescue of the snakes due to lack of resources.
Ghosh then lodged an FIR after which the snakes were put in the Delhi Zoo.
Delhi court reiterates NGT's order given in 2015
It must be noted similar orders had already been issued by NGT in Dec'15, in which it had directed appropriate enhancement in the strength of the forest department and ordered provision of proper infrastructure, including gadgets that would help officials discharge their duties and functions.