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Protecting the Voiceless: Violation and Regulation Of Animal Protective Laws

India, by covering of about 80.9 million hectare forest and tree area has become the seventh largest country of the world with around 350 of mammals and 1224 species of birds. In past 2 years our country's forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 square kilometres. This forest is the home to the most prominent animals names in the entire world i.e. Bengal Tigers, Great Indian Rhinoceros etc.& other prominent Indian species including the Indian elephant, snow leopard, Indian leopard and clouded leopard, Asiatic lion, Bears include the Himalayan black bear, sloth bear, the Himalayan brown bear, sun bear, deer & antelopes, clouded leopard species & Eurasian lynx of caprines, including, red goral, Himalayan serow, red serow, Siberian ibex, Himalayan tahr, markhor,& Nilgiri tahr,kiang and Indian wild ass also found. Canidae include Bengal fox & Tibetan, Himalayan and Indian wolf, Ussuri Dhole and Indian Jackal. Wild sheeps, Small mammals include red panda, hog badger, Indian crested porcupine, Indian boar, palm civet, pygmy hog, Nilgiri marten, and binturong. Also our forest is home to the Aquatic mammals, Striped Hyena, Reptiles, Notable amphibians & Birds include great Indian bustard, Indian peacock, ruddy shelduck, great Indian hornbill, Himalayan quail, Himalayan monal, greater and lesser flamingo, painted stork, & Eurasian spoonbilland thus made India one of the most bio diverse country of the world. Our country's top five States which covers most area of the forest in terms of percentage of the total geographical area are Mizoram which covers 84.53%, Arunachal Pradesh which covers 79.33%, Meghalaya which covers 76%, Manipur covers 74.34% and Nagaland covers 73.90% of the total area of the state.

Wildlife Animals are being used by the Humans from the starting of human settlements in different aspect of life such as protection by Dogs from wild animals or any other threat, Cows/buffaloes/goats/camels etc. for using their milk and making other products from milk(curd/butter milk/ghee/sweets etc),

Camels/Elephant/Bulls/Horses etc for Human transportation, Donkey/Bulls etc for carriage, Buck for Religious sacrifice, Destroying the hives of honey bee for the Honey, Animal Leather for wearing, Entertainment (Animal race/Animal fight/Circus), Showcasing of birds in cage, Hunting, eating animal meat & Testing of food genuineness by making animal eat it, using them in medical experiments such as psychological test/chemical drug test by dripping corrosive chemicals into animal eys, food safety test by inhaling of toxic fumes or feeding pesticides etc., which gave rise to illegal smuggling of wildlife.

To safeguard our rich wildlife the Verma Committee (est. 1999) identified the legal provisions to enforce and ensure the implementation of Fundamental Duties of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. All the wildlife animals or birds, deserve to be given protection & freedom.

Need for the legislation
Forests of our country was home to about 40000 tigers when entering in 20th century which has declined severely with time and was counted 1827 nos in 1972. Similarly many other species were also noticed a speedy decline. These drastic decline in flora & fauna cause environmental disbalance, and thereby affects many aspects of climate & our ecosystem. To Maintain the said ecosystem system of not our country but the entire earth our authorities needed to declare more forests as well as national parks, as there were only 5 National park at that time. This was needed to atleast stabilize the existing no. of animals.

The existing law needed an upgradation as traders were getting benefited even after receiving punishments as per "Wild Birds and Animals Protection, 1935. So to benefit the entire mankind and animals in the form of ecosystem, the Act was needed.

The History of the Legislation
The history of Indian wildlife legislation is about 136 years old, dated back to British rule who made the 1st law in 1887 (Wild Birds Protection Act,1887). This Act prohibit the sale and possession of some specific wild birds who were killed/captured during the breeding session.

Then the second law was came in effect in 1912 (Wild Birds & Animals Protection Act), which was amended in 1935 and it called "Wild Birds and Animals Protection (Amendment) Act 1935". Basically, wildlife protection was not given any priority during British tenure. This gained importance in 1960 only when some species started becoming extinct. The government of India seriously started working towards wildlife to address the issue.

The Law then pass in our country called as The "Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972" was passed by our Parliament to preserve animals, birds, plants etc in 1972, and later issued ammendments as per the need. Before this act was passed India had only five national parks and the wildlife was the subject of state, later national progressed to 101 in our country.

The Act was last amended in the year 2006 and as per the amendment following are the provisions in our constitution for the Wildlife:
  • Article 51 A -of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, rivers, lakes and Wildlife and also to have compassion for living creatures.
  • Article 48 A � As per 42nd Amendment, 1976, State has a directive to protect & improve the environment & safeguard wildlife and forests.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Objectives, Formation & Main features of Wildlife Protection Act are as follows:

  • Prime objective of the act is to prohibit hunting of wild animals & Birds.
  • To ensure complete protection to endangered species of wild animals, Birds & Plants.
  • To ensure the security to the species of wildlife which are not classified as endangered species but need attention.
  • To ensure the hunter has a proper license and the hunting is done in specific areas (where the shooting is allowed) and of specific species (for which the hunting is allowed, e.g., Deer, Duck, etc.) and in specified season only.
  • To ensure animals get friendly environment such as animal parks by doing more and tree plantation.
  • To ensure diversity of flora & fauna is maintained to check on ecological balance.
  • The Act is to enforce a ban on endangered species & also to issue a license for sale, possess & transport for non-scarce species.
  • To ensure punishment to the one who is guilty by giving authority to some officer.

  • With the purpose to provide protection of specific animals, plants & birds, the central government has notified certain protected areas in our country.
  • Appointment of authorities and hierarchical staff such as Director, Asst. Director, Warden of Wildlife preservation, etc. to administer the control over the protected areas.
  • Preparation of a comprehensive list of scarce wildlife.
  • Formation of various bodies such as National and State Board of Wildlife, National Tiger Conservation Authority, Central Zoo Authority, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Standing Committee of NBWL to administer the control over the Wildlife/Protected areas.
  • Declaration of Protected areas, Wildlife sanctuaries, National Parks, etc.
  • Declaration of rules/6 schedules under the Act to protect the flora & fauna of our country, the schedules are as follows:

    Schedule I:

    • The endangered species which needs rigorous protection from killing, poaching, trading, etc., are covered under Schedule I. Violation attracts harsh penalties.
    • Hunting of the scheduled species under this Schedule is prohibited in the entire country, except under threat to human life.
    • Names of some of the animals granted protection under this schedule: Bengal tiger, blackbuck, Himalayan Brown Bear, Brow-Antlered Deer, Blue whale, Common Dolphin, Kashmiri stag, Cheetah, Musk Deer, Clouded Leopard, Snow Leopard, hornbills, Indian Gazelle, Fishing cat, Golden langur, Asiatic Cheetah, etc.

    Schedule II:

    • On similar lines to Schedule I, animals covered in Schedule II are also given high protection and trade of listed animals is prohibited. Violation attracts harsh penalties.
    • Hunting of the scheduled species under this Schedule is prohibited in the entire country, except under threat to human life.
    • Names of some of the animals granted protection under this schedule: Kohinoor (insect), Assamese Macaque, Stump tail Macaque, Pig tailed Macaque, Bengal Hanuman langur, Himalayan black Bear, Himalayan Salamander, Sperm Whale, Large Indian Civet, Indian Fox, Larger Kashmir Flying Squirrel, Kashmir Fox, Indian Cobra, King Cobra, etc.

    Schedule III & IV:

    • Unlike Schedule I & Schedule II, the species covered under these schedules are not endangered, but protection to these species is given due importance. However, in case of violation, the penalties are not as harsh as compared to the above two, though hunting is prohibited.
    • Names of some of the animals granted protection under Schedule III: hyena, Sambhar Deer, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Blue Sheep, Sponges, etc.
    • Names of some of the animals granted protection under Schedule IV: Falcons, Flamingos, Magpie, Hares, Kingfishers, Horseshoe Crab, Malabar tree Toad, etc.

    Schedule V:

    • Animals such as Common crow, Fruit Bat, Rats, and Mice, which carry disease and destroy plants and food, are covered under Schedule V and are allowed to be hunted.

    Schedule VI:

    • Schedule VI of the act covers plants, unlike the above five schedules. The schedule regulates the cultivation of listed/notified plants whose sale, trade, transportation, and possession are prohibited without authority's permission.
    • Names of some of the plants granted protection under Schedule VI: Blue Orchid, Red Orchid, Slipper Orchid, Beddomes' Cycad, Pitcher Plant, Kuth, etc.

Responsibility of the Organization constituted under the Wildlife Act

National Board for Wildlife:

  • It was constituted as a statutory organization which acts as an advisory to the government on required policy formation for wildlife conservation.
  • This board serves as an apex body which reviews & approves all wildlife related matters, projects of national parks, sanctuaries, etc.
  • The Board is responsible for promoting the conservation & development of wildlife & forests and is headed by the Prime Minister of India (The Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the Vice-Chairperson of the board).

Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife:

  • Headed by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Standing Committee approves the projects which fall in protected wildlife/ within 10 km of wildlife.

State Board for Wildlife (SBWL):

  • Formed by state government, this constituted as a statutory organization which acts as an advisory to the state government on required policy formation for wildlife conservation or amendment if required.
  • This board serves as an apex body which reviews & approves all wildlife related matters, projects of national parks, sanctuaries, etc.
  • The Board is responsible for promoting the conservation & development of wildlife & forests and is headed by the Chief Minister of the State.

Central Zoo Authority:

  • The authority consists of ten members including Environment Minister as a Chairperson & a member secretary.
  • The objective of the authority is to make rules and guidelines according to which any animal can be transferred among national or international zoos.
  • The task of the authority is to give recognition & regulate the zoos across India.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):

  • With the head office in New Delhi, the Bureau is established to fight against the crime committed towards wildlife in India.
  • In order to achieve its target, the Bureau assists & advises state and center on issues related to wildlife crimes & to form policies & laws to prosecute the criminals.
  • The Bureau launches centralized data related to wildlife crime, collects, collates & organizes criminal activities and circulates this to State so that the criminals can be detained.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • Headed by Union Environment Minister & co-chaired by State Environment Minister (Vice chairperson), NTCA has a mandate to reinforce tiger conservation in our country. It was constituted in 2005 to revive the endangered species of tiger in India.
  • Our country has designated fifty-plus wildlife sanctuaries as tiger reserves.
  • The main function of the National Tiger Conservation Authority is to supervise, coordinate & perform in capacity. It also works for "Project Tiger".

Protected areas under the Act

Under the Wildlife protection Act following 5 types of area are notified:

  1. Tiger Reserve: On endorsement of National Tiger Conservation Authority some forests are declared as reserved forest for the conservation and protection of tigers in our country.
  2. Conservation Reserve: It is the State government who declares some specific area as conservation reserves in consultation with local communities. Generally these areas are next to any sanctuary or park.
  3. Community Reserve: Similar to Conservation reserve, State government may declare any private land or community land as a community reserve in consultation with the local community or an individual who has volunteered to conserve the wildlife.
  4. Sanctuary: Sanctuary is a shelter place where without human intervention, abandoned, injured, & abused wildlife can stay/live peacefully in their natural habitat. Endangered species are protected from hunting, poaching, commercial breeding, capturing, disturbing and predation in this naturally-occurring areas. State Government can alter its boundaries by issuing a notification as it is also declared by state government. These places are open for public visit with some authorized escort. Some researchers with due permission study the area and its inhabitants. Sanctuaries can be upgraded to the status of a 'National Park'. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu is the oldest bird sanctuary in India.
  5. National Parks: These areas are notified by the government to conserve/protect the natural environment & biodiversity of the area with more restrictions as compared to sanctuary. The features of national parks are as follows:
    1. Its boundaries are fixed, can only be modified by passing a state legislature.
    2. Its natural state is maintained such as landscape, flora and fauna.
    3. Unlike sanctuaries, No human activity is allowed (Not even Grazing of livestock).
    4. Like sanctuary can be upgraded to National park, National park cannot be downgraded to sanctuary.
    5. Only local communities are allowed to collect forest produce that too for their bonafide requirements only.

Prevention, detention & punishments of Crimes related to Wildlife.
Chapter VI (section 50-58) deals with prevention & detention of crimes against wildlife animals/plants. Authorised representative not below sun-inspector rank have a right to enquire or search for the permit/licence for the possessed specific wild animal/its part/meat or plant by stopping any vehicle/vessel/baggages etc and arrest in case violation is found. Chief warden or Asst. Director or above of wildlife have a right to issue the warrant in case of any suspect found doing unlawful activity. Authorized person have aright to seize the belonging of wildlife if possessed without any permit, ownership certificate or licence.

Any person found guilty of violation of law either by committing crime without permit or by misusing permit will be punished with a fine of Rs 10000 or imprisonment(between 3 � 5 years) or both. In subsequent case the fine is increased by Rs 25000(minimum, can be increased) with extended term of imprisonment. Licence can be cancelled by the court in case a person is licence holder. Provision of granting the bail is applicable to the offender if the crime was done for the first time.

Chapter VI A deals with Forfeiting of property made out of illegal hunting/trade. This chapter is newly added one. According to the chapter if a person/persons/trust etc. accumulate property which is a result of illegal trade or hunting or other such prohibited trade under wildlife act would be taken away by authorised person of State government. Action can be taken by the Government as per the established rules.

Our country is consecrated with a enormous range of Flora & Fauna, due to these natural resources we have become the seventh largest country of the world with variety of mammals, diversity of birds etc. In past few decades these blessing seems depleting drastically and were seeking our immediate attention. These wildlife must be preserved & protected to maintain the ecological balance of the earth. Stealing of animals, hunting them, trading them illegally are the few causes of the ecological disbalance.

In order to save the variety of flora & fauna India strongly needed Wildlife Act. Wildlife act was brought in force in 1972 with lots of Amendment(2002) as per the requirement of the wildlife. In the process of preservation of wildlife India has increased its forest & tree cover and made it 2,261 square kilometres.

Wildlife Act comprises of sixty sections which is divided in eight chapters which: divide the responsibilities between authorities, Manages Sancturies/National Parks/Central Zoos etc. List Endangered species, Make/Amend rules, deals with punishments/penalties etc. In short the Act permits the Government (Both State and Centre) to notify the areas of National parks, Sanctuary etc. and impose restrictions in notified areas such as restriction on hunting, poaching, trading of endangered species.

To protect, preserve & conserve the wildlife & also to protect our ecosystem the Act was necessary and the Act came into force. We, people of India are equally responsible & should protect the wildlife at personal level by not doing any act which is illegal and also inform authority if find anyone doing something against the Act.

  14. "The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972" from the Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, Legislative Department
  16. "Legislations on Environment, Forests, and Wildlife" from the Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
  17. Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Diva Singh
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: JN416030502508-8-0624

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