NEED OF PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE
The importance of wildlife to the mankind is undisputed. It is beneficial in various forms such as maintaining ecological balance, conservation of biodiversity, scientific and recreational purposes, etc. But with rapid growth in population and an increase in environmental pollution, wildlife is subject to speedy extinction. Thus to protect wildlife, legislative action was required.
Though there were several legislations already in existence none of them was competent enough to deal with the diverse consequences of wildlife extinction. Thus, The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 was passed by the Parliament deriving authority from Article 252 upon the request of 11 states to provide a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of the wildlife.
Constitutional mandate to protect the wildlife:
In India, wildlife laws have a long history. The constitution (forty-second amendment) act, 1976, has introduced a new article 48-A, which imposes an obligation on the state to protect and improve the environment including wildlife.
It says: the state shall strive to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
Article 51-A was also introduced by the Constitution (forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976. Clause (g) of Article 51-A imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen to protect, inter alia, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
It says: it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.
PURPOSE OF WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT
- to provide for the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants
- to ensure the ecological and environmental security of the country
The conservation strategy of this act is broadly divided into two categories:
(a) protection of specified endangered species
(b) protection of all species in specified areas
Authorities under the Wild Life Protection Act:
The central government may appoint;
a) a director of wildlife preservation;
b) other necessary officers and employees
Similarly, the state government may appoint;
a) a chief wildlife warden.
b) Wildlife wardens.
c) Honorary wildlife wardens.
d) other necessary officers and employees
NATIONAL AND STATE BOARDS:
These boards are constituted to perform certain functions and duties such as:
- Framing policies of conservation of wildlife
- Advising the respective governments on controlling and conservative techniques
- Making recommendations as to set up and management of national parks, sanctuaries, and other protected areas
- Carrying out an impact assessment of various projects
- Preparation and publication of status reports on wildlife
Prohibition on hunting
There is a total ban on hunting of wild animals specified in schedule I, II and III. However, the chief wildlife warden may, by reasoned order in writing, permit such hunting upon satisfaction that:
- Such animal has become dangerous to human life
- Such animal has become disabled
- Such animal is diseased beyond recovery
Killing/wounding of any wild animal in good faith or in self-defense is also permitted.
Permission to hunt can be granted in special cases.
It shall also be lawful for the chief wildlife warden to grant a permit, by the order in writing stating the reasons, to any person to permit to hunt any wildlife animal for the purposes –
b) Scientific research.
c) Collection of specimens for recognized zoos or for the museum or other similar institutions.
d) Collection or preparation of snake venom for the manufacture of life-saving drugs.
Protection of specified plants
No person shall
a) Willfully pick, uproot, damage, destroy, acquire or collect any specified plant from any forest land and any area specified, by notification, by the central government.
b) Posses, sell, offer for sale, or transfer by the way of gift or otherwise. Or transport any specified plant, whether alive or dead, or part, or derivative thereof.