LEGAL STUDY OF WILDLIFE PROTECTION IN INDIA
Aishwarya Pandey, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Manipal University Jaipur
In India, there is a rapid decline in wild animals and birds. Numerous individuals are under the feeling that India doesn't have solid wildlife protection laws. But we have the absolute enactments to secure wildlife and environments. All moderates acclimate themselves with these laws, so they can contribute adequately. It is additionally indispensable to comprehend which foundations control land in India before any protection intercessions can endeavour in any scene. The lawful status of the land should initially be learned so one can draw in with the right specialists or organizations. The Wild Birds and Animal Protection Act, 1912 has now become obsolete. There is an urgent requirement to include comprehensive legislation, which could protect wild animals and birds.
Wildlife means animals, plants and insects etc. that live in the forest. Earlier an attempt was made to protect wildlife by enacting Indian Forest Act, 1927. It restricts hunting in protected and reserved forests. In 1887, the Wild Birds Protection Act was enacted by Britishers. Article 51-A(g) of the Indian Constitution states fundamental duty on every citizen of India to protect and improve wildlife in the country. The meaning of this non-effectiveness seems to be because of casual approach of penalty provisions and punishment mentioned in the respective environmental statutes and also lack of effectiveness concerning enforcing the provisions of the statutes by the enforcement agencies mentioned under these respective environmental laws.
HISTORY OF WILDLIFE PROTECTION ENACTMENT IN INDIA
The main such law was passed by the British Indian Government in 1887 called the Wild Birds Protection Act, 1887. The law tried to preclude the ownership and offer of determined wild winged creatures that were either murdered or caught during a reproducing meeting.
A subsequent law was instituted in 1912 called the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act. This was changed in 1935 when the Wild Birds and Animals Protection (Amendment) Act 1935 was passed.
During the British Raj, wildlife security has not concurred. It was distinctly in 1960 that the issue of assurance of natural life and the counteraction of specific species from turning out to be terminated came into the front.
LEGISLATION ON WILDLIFE PROTECTION
Due to poaching and trade of animal articles, wildlife of India is in danger. Parliament has passed the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 to protect the wildlife of the country. It was introduced due to a request made by 11 states. This act provides prohibition on hunting animals which is listed in schedule I, II, III and IV. The state government is empowered to declare any area under adequate ecological, faunal, floral, natural or zoological importance. The entry of the public in national parks and sanctuaries is restricted and destruction of the same is restricted.
The government of India has added many notes of legislation with regards to the growing destruction of wildlife and forest. These areas below –
The wildlife protection act, 1972 which provides a strong legal framework for the management of zoos, for protected areas prohibition of hunting, protection of wildlife habitat regulation and limitation on trade-in products which is derived from wildlife.
This act also provides various categories for protected resource –
1. Wildlife sanctuaries
2. Community reserves
3. Tiger reserves
4. Conservation reserves
5. National parks
Tiger reserves in national parks are strictly protected by laws which prohibit human activity except those who work for the interest of wildlife conservation. Gazing and private tenurial are not allowed in national parks. It depends upon the chief wildlife warden to allow such activities. To protect the ecologically sensitive area, where there is the presence of significant flora and fauna including zoological importance, the state government can declare a portion of reserved forest or territorial water as a sanctuary under this wildlife law. Similarly, the state government can declare any portion of the sanctuary or any part of the forest as a national park for the protection of any wild animal because of the significance of flora and fauna including zoological importance.
In 1986 the act of 1972 was amended as it was not satisfactory. In the earlier act trade and commerce in wildlife, animal articles and trophies were allowed in the country. But still, there is the smuggling of animal skins, articles and other things with the foreign countries. In return, they earn a huge profit. After the amendment act in 1986, it provided that trade in wild animals given in schedule one and two of the act will not be allowed. The license which was given for internal trade of animals and their articles is also revoked. Hence there was a complete ban on trade in India.
Further, there was an amendment in 1991 of the wildlife act. The basis of this amendment was of the suggestions given by the Indian wildlife board and Ministry of environment and forest. It was observed that there is continuous poaching and illegal trading in animal articles, due to which the population of wildlife was rapidly declining. Therefore amendment act in 1991 prohibited hunting of all types of wild animals except vermin.
There was an exception in this act, there are few situations where the hunting of wildlife animals was allowed, all for the protection of property and life, education, research, captive breeding, and scientific management. The provisions also added national Park in century to territorial waters without affecting local fishermen‘s interest. Further, it was provided that the rights of the tribal people would be considered and no area could be declared as a national park or a century until settling their rights.
Importance of zoos in the protection of wild animals was recognized by the amendment act of 1991. Central zoo authority established under the amendment act will manage the management of zoos. Hence, from this conversation, wildlife law is exhaustive enough to handle the emergency concerning natural life security. Notwithstanding, it is to be noted here that, regardless of having extensive enactment, there is no indication of a decrease in the poaching of wild creatures. As needs are, it brings up the issue concerning compelling execution of the regulations of wildlife laws.
R. Simon v. Union of India, In this case, the petitioner was a manufacturer of caps, coats, blankets and snake skin etc. which was challenged in a 1991 amendment, which prohibits trade in animal articles. Further, it was contended by the party that the act is colourable legislation because it indirectly takes fundamental right to carry trade as per A. 19(1)(g). There are few animals which are harmful and do not serve any purpose. Delhi high court rejected the contention and stated that each animal is important for balancing ecology and every individual should save and improve the wildlife.
Hence the 1991 Amendment is constitutional. A similar decision has been given in Ivory Traders and Manufacturers Association vs. Union of India.
Indian Handicrafts Emporium vs. Union of India, Facts: In this case, the petitioner had challenged the constitutional validity of the 1991 Amendment, which prohibited trade in imported ivory. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of this amendment under Art.19 (6). The Court observed that a trade, which is dangerous to ecology, may be regulated or prohibited. Balancing the social interest and the fundamental rights, a total prohibition is reasonable.
In the case of Babran Kumawat v. Union of India, here petitioner was into manufacturing of mammoth ivory. Due to climatic change, this animal disappeared in Alaska and Siberia. In this case, the issue was whether under the 1991 Amendment Act it be considered as imported ivory. The Supreme Court held that the Amendment of 1991 prohibits the trade of ivory of every kind. It could be elephant ivory or mammoth ivory. Hence, the petitioner is not allowed to continue the trade in mammoth ivory.
PradeepKrishen v. Union of India, in this case, the order of the M.P government was challenged by the petitioner where the villagers were allowed to live around sanctuaries and national parks for the collection of certain leaves by contractors. In the province of M.P. 11 zones have been announced as sanctuaries and national parks covering around 12.4% of complete woods spread in M.P. The solicitor battled that various trees in these territories have been decimated because of the passage of locals. The Supreme Court guided the Madhya Pradesh government to find a way to deny passage of residents and tribals in national parks and sanctuaries.
Both the pillars of our country i.e. judiciary and legislature are well aware of the importance of wildlife. Life of wild animals or other wildlife has been in danger due to the constant shrinking of the forest. It tends to be finished up from the above conversation that the insurance of wildlife and sanctuaries relies upon the productive implementation of fastidious arrangements by the authorization offices. The facts demonstrate that ecological arrangement can be of the rule just and can't be enforceable. In any case, the ecological enactments, specifically of forest act, wildlife laws, forest preservation laws can control the debasement of the climate, yet besides, can safeguard the forest and natural life for the present and group of people yet to come. Additionally, the punishment arrangement isn't far-reaching one and the legislature ought to return to improve the punishment laws, with the goal that it should look as legitimate prevention. At long last, it very well may be inferred that the greater part of the arrangements of these laws are proficient, yet someplace the implementation of these arrangements is falling behind, which brings up the issue of productivity of authorization offices.
Arup Poddar, Effectiveness of forest and wildlife laws in India, IJIR
See, Section 26A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
See, Section 35 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
AIR 1997 Del.301
Vijay Oak, Wildlife Protection: Legislative and Judicial Response, http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/wild.htm
AIR 2003 SC 3240
AIR 1996 SC 3268