Interpretation of Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule I Species Identification

In a recent legal case, the court delved into the interpretation of the Wildlife Protection Act regarding the identification of a seized Turtle species. The court’s analysis centered around whether the species in question fell under the Schedule I classification of protected species. This determination played a crucial role in the court’s decision and sheds light on the complexities of species identification in wildlife protection laws.


  • The Court directed the Respondent to pay Rs. 10,000 as costs to the Petitioner within a month.
  • The Respondent was also directed to file an affidavit of compliance within the same period.
  • In case of default in payment of costs or non-filing of the affidavit, the Respondent would be liable for additional costs.
  • Deputy Range Forest Officer appealed against the High Court’s judgment regarding the seizure of a Turtle identified as ‘Indian Flap Shell’ by a Veterinary Surgeon.
  • The High Court quashed criminal proceedings as the seized Turtle was not a species included in Schedule I of the Act, 1972.
  • The appellant argued that the species identification should have been decided under trial with expert evidence, and the High Court erred in using Section 482 Cr.P.C. to allow the application.
  • The respondent claimed that possession of the Turtle species not in Schedule I of the Act does not invite the alleged offences.
  • A review petition was allowed quashing further proceedings in the case against the respondent-accused.
  • The Veterinary Surgeon identified the Turtle as ‘Indian Flap Shell’ (scientific name ‘Lissemy’s Punctata’).
  • The Court directed the release of the Turtle on 27.07.2016 but a charge-sheet was still submitted by the Forest Officer.
  • The appeal was filed against the High Court’s judgment of 16.11.2017 which quashed the proceedings in C.C. No. 706 of 2016.

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  • High Court allowed the Criminal M.C. of the respondent based on certain reasons.
  • The Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act does not mention Indian Flap Shell Turtle, only Indian Soft Shell Turtle is listed.
  • The certificate issued by the Senior Veterinary Surgeon identified the Turtle seized as Indian Flap Shell Turtle (Lissemys Punctata).
  • The species Indian Flap Shell Turtle is not listed in the Schedule of the Act, 1972.
  • Since the Turtle seized does not belong to Indian Soft Shell Turtle as mentioned in the Schedule, the capture or possession cannot be treated as an offence under the Act.

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  • Hunting of Indian Soft-shelled Turtle (Lissemys punctata punctata) is prohibited under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Exceptions for hunting can only be made under Sections 11 and 12 with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden.
  • The Veterinary Surgeon incorrectly identified the seized Turtle as ‘Indian Flap Shell’ instead of ‘Indian Soft-shelled Turtle.’
  • The Turtle seized was not included in Schedule I Part II of the Act, 1972.
  • High Court decision to quash the criminal proceedings for Wild Life offences was justified.
  • No error by the High Court in exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
  • The appeal was dismissed as the Turtle seized did not fall under Schedule I Part II.

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Case Number: R.P.(Crl.) No.-000593 / 2018

Click here to read/download original judgement

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