Indian laws for the protection of wild life are stronger than treaty Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES ). The Export and Exim Policy of the Government of India also provides for restriction which are stricter. Almost all wild species of fauna are protected under Indian law and virtually a complete ban on hunting and export of even non CITES species is in existence.
The Indian Legislations for the protection of animals are , Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and various rules like Prevention of Cruelty to the Performing Animal Rules, 1973 , Transport of Animals Rules, 1978 , Prevention of Cruelty (Capture of Animals) Rules, 1972, The Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992, the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2003, National Board for Wild Life Rules, 2003, etc.
In a landmark judgment Supreme Court of India has accepted the ecocentric principle and directed the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, for inclusion of Red Sanders as a endangered species and include the same in the list of protected species under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The Court also observed that time has come to think of legislation similar to Endagered Species Act like of United States of America should be enacted in India. The Court relied on a passage from Upanishad also in this case. [ T.N.Godavarman vs Union of India.]
Supreme Court directed the State of Chhattisgarh to give effect fully the Centrally Sponsored Scheme - "the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats", so as to save wild buffalo from extinction. The State also would take immediate steps to ensure that interbreeding between wild and domestic buffalos does not take place and genetic purity of the wild species is maintained. The State is also directed to take immediate steps to undertake intensive research and monitor the wild buffalo population in Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary and other areas, where the wild buffalo may still be found, including preparing them their genetic profile for future reference. Direction is also given to State Government to give full effect to centrally sponsored scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats, so as to save wild buffalo. [ T.N.Godavarman vs. Union of India.]
Supreme Court has quashed the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to introduce African Cheetahs into Kuno cannot stand in the eye of Law. The re-introduction of Asiatic lion from Gir to Kuno is that of utmost importance so as to preserve the Asiatic lion, an endangered species which cannot be delayed. Re-introduction of Asiatic lion, needless to say, should be in accordance with the guidelines issued by IUCN. More directions issued. [T.N.Godavarman vs. Union of India.]
But Circus animals are being forced to perform unnatural tricks, are housed in cramped cages, subjected to fear, hunger, pain, not to mention the undignified way of life they have to live, with no respite and the impugned . To save the said animals a notification has been issued banning the training and exhibition of five animals, viz. Bars, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs by the Government of India. This was challenged before the Kerala HC. Court upheld the said action of the Government for the protection of the animals.
Sec. 29 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 restrains destruction, exploitation, removal etc. of any wild life from the sanctuary prohibited without permit. When pipe lines were allowed to be laid it was questioned in the SC. The court after examining the law held that laying of pipe lines will not fall under one of the prohibitions. The legislative intent is that the State Government should itself should apply its mind and form the requisite satisfaction. Once the State Government has exercised this power it is not open to the Chief Wild Life Warden to decide to the contrary.
Slaughtering of cow is a problem in certain parts of the country, where cow is treated an a sacred animal. While refusing the banning of slaughtering of Cow, the Allahabad HC has held that trade or business of slaughtering of bulls, bullocks and she-buffaloes is a fundamental right. Any law or bye-law made by any authority completing prohibiting this right will be violative of Art.19 of the Constitution of India.
SC in a public interest litigation has passed an interim order to effectively control the poaching administration is directed to ensure that the forest guards in sanctuaries/national parks are provided modern arms, communication facilities, viz, wireless sets and other necessary equipment in that regard within six months.
A scheme for the modernisation of slaughter was formulate under the Mysore Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Prevention of Cow Preservation Act, 1964 . The same was unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court.
A Company engaged in exporting meat was using Abattoir (mechanised slaughtering machine). When the same was challenged in the SC it was found that installation of mechanised modern slaughtering machine no pollution caused. While closing the matter the court issued a direction issued to make report about the depletion of cattle population.
When the Central Government has issued a notification including "coral" within the ambit of the Wild Life Protection Act the same was challenged before the Madras HC. The exporters contended that they are using a hard, white calcareous substance called ‘coral’. This coral is a lifeless substance which is secreted by marine polyps (also called coral). When the marine polyps die due to various reasons, the secreted calcareous lifeless substance breaks from the coral and falls on the sea floor, and the same is carried away by sea currents and washed ashore. The same is collected by the fisher folk, and are sold to them for the manufacture of lime.The same cannot be termed as Wild Life. Court has held that it is not necessary to give a wider definition of the word ‘coral” (so as to include both the meanings of the word ‘coral’) to sub serve the purpose of the Act. As long as the writ petitioners do not catch and kill alive animals by severing their external skeleton, but only purchase the coral reef being the outer skeleton of the dead sea animal, which is washed ashore after the death of the reef building coral, the authorities have no right to interfere with the activities, as they do not violate the provision of the Act, the court held.
Bombay HC while dealing with a issue of non-implementation of the rules has directed the constitution of Committee. They are also directed to supervise implementation of provisions of Acts, Rules and Directions given by the SC from time to time. On such visits and inspection committee shall identify the cruelties to birds/animals , particularly as to method and manner of carrying them,, space for them, food and other provisions, etc. The Committee shall also verify whether the birds are being dealt with illegality or illicitly for trade , in contravention of provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, the court disposed of the matter.
The manufacturers of traders of tanned, cured and finished skins of animals has approached the Delhi HC challenging the banning trade/business in animal skins and articles made there from. Each and every animal plays role in maintaining the ecological balance. It cannot be said that certain animals have no role to play or are detrimental to human life. Therefore the provisions are valid and sustainable and rejected the petitions
The imposition of ban on trade of imported ivory and articles made thereon was questioned before the Delhi HC. No citizen has a fundamental right to trade in ivory or ivory articles, whether indigenous or imported A law designed to abate extinction of an animal specie is prima facie one enacted for the protection of public interest as it was enacted to preserve and protect the elephant from extinction. It is not contravention of Art.14 of the Constitution, the court added.
An elephant was killed. The police has registered case under Sec.447, 429 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code read with Sec.34 and 39 of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. The fact that the police after due investigation had filed a final report that no offence was made out under Sec. 429 of IPC, would not bar the initiation of fresh proceedings under Sec. 9 (1) read with Sec.51 of the Wild Life Protection Act, the court clarified.
For declaring an area as wild life sanctuary and National Park a declaration under the law is much essential ,for that a procedure has to be followed. The traditional rights of of those living in and around the parks and sanctuary has to be acquired before issuing a final notification as per the law. Provision has to be made to either to compensate them or rehabilitate them. Before that a final declaration is not possible, according to the Supreme Court.
When a notification was issued reducing the area of Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary it was challenged before the SC. Instead of quashing the notification court permitted restricted and controlled exploitation of mineral wealth of that area, watch it effects for a period of about 5 years and direct a comprehensive study of the area from the environmental point of view.
Restriction on entry in sanctuary that vehicles shall not ply between 6.P.M. and 6.A.M. has been challenged before the Madras HC. The court held that once a particular area is declared and notified as a wild life sanctuary any private right of a person should be subjected to the object of the Act. The right to use the roads in the sanctuary is subject to area is subject to the conditions that could be imposed by the Chief Wild Life Warden or the officers authorized by him, as they are empowered to impose such reasonable restrictions and conditions in the matter of entry and use of roads in the sanctuary area, taking into consideration the security of the wild animal in the sanctuary, preservation of the sanctuary and wild animals therein and keeping the interest of wild animals therein and keeping the interest of wild life and their habits, such as grazing and movement into consideration. In which case, the restriction imposed that they should ply their vehicles between 6A.M. and 6.P.M. in order to achieve the above object , cannot be complained as arbitrary and unreasonable or innocuous the court held.
A defamation suit was filed for publishing an article under the caption " theft of elephant tusk". The defense was the elephant was shot dead while it was in the estate of the plaintiff and therefore the removal of tusk in the situation will not constitute removal of property from the possession of another without his consent. The question came up for consideration as to the ownership of the tusk, in the circumstances. Interpreting the provision of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 the Kerala HC has held that the elephant is a wild animal and tusks would be the property of the State Government in the circumstances.
User of Tetra Packs inside the stalls in zoo was banned and it was challenged before the Orissa High Court. The same was challenged before the High Court. The Court held that ban is proper and policy adopted of not issuing/renewal of license/lease to establish such counter inside zoo was to ensure health and welfare of animals is not unreasonable.
SC has held that Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 is not a complete code. Whether the CBI is authorized to investigate an offence, which is punishable under the Act ? Answering the question SC has held that the scheme of the Act abundantly make it clear that Police Officer is also empowered to investigate offences and search and seize the offending articles.
An application for recognition of mobile zoo was rejected. While challenging the said order he also asked for compensation for the reason that he has surrendered the animals with the State. Delhi HC rejecting the prayer has held that no compensation in respect of animal, holding and possession of which is illegal could ordered to be paid.
Assignment of private land inside situated inside a National Park for running business of boarding, lodging and restaurant, has been challenged before the Karnataka HC. Interpreting the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Wild Life Protection Act, the court held that there is an absolute prohibition on the grant of rights in respect of the part of the "national park" and "reserve forest" in favor of a company without the prior approval of the Central Government is void and cannot be acted upon.
The question whether the raising of water level in Mullaperiyar Dam, a dam situated between two states, Kerala and Tamilnadu, will have adverse effect on the wildlife habitat ? SC considering all the aspects has held that the raising of the water level will not have any adverse effect on the habitat.
THE LACUNAE IN WILDLIFE PROTECTION LAWS IN INDIA - AKASH S. KARMAKAR