Snake charmer gets 17 days in jail instead of three years
A three-year jail term given to a snake charmer for illegally possessing an Indian cobra has been reduced by a Delhi court to 17 days imprisonment already undergone by him during his trial. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Narinder Kumar gave the ruling on Uttar Pradesh native Dhan Pal Nath’s appeal against the trial court’s order sentencing him to three years in jail for keeping the cobra without a licence. The ASJ reduced Nath’s sentence considering that he had no criminal history and that he had discontinued working as a snake charmer after the case was lodged against him. ‘In the course of arguments, it has not been disputed by Wildlife Inspector that accused is not a previous convict and that after registration of this case, he did not indulge in any such activity. Nath had remained in custody for a period of 17 days, during investigation...this court finds it to be a fit case to sentence Nath for the period already undergone,’ the ASJ said. As per the prosecution, Nath was arrested in October 2008 from Shahdara in North East Delhi for carrying the cobra for performing snake charming tricks and soliciting money from the residents. He had also visited the house of complainant Naresh Kumar demanding money for performing snake charming tricks, when the Cobra bit Kumar’s finger, the police said. The prosecution had said Kumar was subsequently rushed to a nearby hospital and that Nath was later on arrested. Nath, on the other hand, had denied all the allegations levelled against him saying he had been implicated.