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Home News Odisha Government To Give Protection To Forest Officials u/s 197 of CrPC

Odisha Government To Give Protection To Forest Officials u/s 197 of CrPC

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Illegal Firearms Seized From Similipal Sanctuary Area Under Mayurbhanj District
Illegal Firearms Seized From Similipal Sanctuary Area Under Mayurbhanj District

Bhubaneswar: July 5: After two forest officials were killed by poachers in the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), the state government gave forest officials protection under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

In a notification dated 5th July’2023, it is said, Whereas the Government of Odisha, being conscious of the vulnerability of forest land and forest-based resources in forest areas as well as wildlife in protected and reserved forest areas of the state to mounting threats to their conservation, protection, and existence have decided to arm forest personnel of the state with firearms.

“The use of firearms in the discharge of their mandated duty and responsibility may expose forest personnel to vexatious criminal proceedings and there is need to provide them immunity from prosecution without prior sanction,” the notification said.

Section-197 of CrPC shall apply to all the Forest Guards, Foresters, Deputy Forest Range Officers, Forest Range Officers, Assistant Conservators of Forests, Sub-Divisional Forest Officers, Deputy Conservators of Forests, Deputy Directors, Divisional Forest Officers, Regional Chief Conservators of Forests, Field Directors and any other Forest Officers in the State who are charged with maintenance of public order relating to forest and wildlife protection, conservation and management.

“Whenever firing is resorted to by the forest personnel mentioned in the Clause (a) above, each such incident shall be enquired into by an Executive Magistrate of the locality: and any proceedings including institution of a criminal case of any nature and/or effecting an arrest shall be initiated by the Police, only if it is held, as a result of the Magisterial Enquiry that the use of firearms has been unnecessary, unwarranted and excessive and further that such Magisterial Enquiry report has been accepted by the State Government,” the notification read further.

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