Kochi | Malayalam actor Mohanlal on Monday got respite in the ivory possession case as the High Court of Kerala stayed the proceedings pending in a lower court.
The High Court Justice PV Kunhikrishnan stayed the proceedings in the Judicial First Class Magistrate’s court in Perumbavoor for six months on the plea of the actor and other defendants in the case.
The Perumbavoor Court had earlier rejected the government's plea to withdraw the case. The court had also ordered that the accused including Mohanlal should face trial and appear in person on November 3.
In the plea, the state government had argued that the case was of no public interest.
The Magistrate court accepted the plea of the petitioners that the
government cannot make a decision only on behalf of an individual.
Mohanlal claimed that the ivory was given to him as a gift. The government's position was that the tusk of the captive elephants was kept and therefore the Forest Wildlife Act was not applicable to Mohanlal. The court rejected these arguments.
In 2011, ivory was seized from the actor’s house in Kochi during an inspection by the Income Tax Department. He was booked under the Wild Life (Protection) Act. The case was later handed over to the Forest Department.
The Forest Department had filed a charge sheet against the actor in 2019.