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This article is written by Ilashri Gaur, a law student pursuing B.A. LLB (Hons.) from Teerthanker Mahaveer University. This article deals with the whole concept of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This act provides the provisions regarding the protection of Wildlife.

Introduction

Today’s world is full of new technologies, machinery, buildings, offices. We are moving ahead with modernization but we are lacking behind with nature. Nobody is focusing on the environment, as due to deforestation and modernization, there is an imbalance in the environment. In order to preserve the world, we need to focus on the flora and fauna of the world. With the loss of the forests to deforestation, there has been an immense loss of the natural habitat of the wildlife. Many of the species are already extinct and many of them are going to be extinct. Hunting and eating of wild animals has also led to this.

Hence, it is very much necessary to understand the need of the hour and protect the wildlife. In order to protect them, many steps can be taken by the government as well as by the people. People should stop using the things which are made up of wild animal body parts which would help to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife animal parts and due to which hunting of animals will also be reduced.

Sanctuaries

There are many wildlife sanctuaries all over the world. It is the natural habitat owned by the government or some private agency for the safeguard of the wild animals. They aim at providing a comfortable life for the animals. The importance of wildlife sanctuaries are:

  • To protect the endangered species.
  • It is difficult to relocate them from their natural habitat, so it is easy to protect them in their natural environment.
  • In sanctuaries, the endangered species are specially monitored. They grow and reproduce in numbers and provide protection.
  • Biologists and researchers are there who keep an eye on the animals.
  • These sanctuaries protect the species from humans and predators.

Declaration of the sanctuary

Section 26A of the Wildlife Protection Act defines the declaration of the sanctuary. It says that the State Government may declare its intention to constitute an area which consists of adequate ecological, flora, fauna, natural or zoological significance for the protection of wildlife. ‘Wildlife’ is defined by the State Government through notification. There is no need to pass legislation by the State Assembly to declare a wildlife sanctuary.

Collectors

The State Government appoints an officer as a collector to inquire and determine the existence of the nature and extent of rights of any person. Here are some pointers regarding the rights and power a collector has. Under Section 18 of the Wildlife Protection Act, appointment of the collectors is defined.

Collector to determine rights

Section 19 of the Wildlife Protection Act defines that any claim under this section is required to be submitted within two months from the date of such proclamation. The claim includes the nature and extent of such rights in the written form and in a prescribed manner. 

Bar of accrual of rights

Section 20 of the Wildlife Protection Act defines the bar of accrual of rights. It means that no right can be obtained over the land comprising within the limits of the specified area in such notification, except for testamentary, succession or intestate.

Proclamation Inquiry

Proclamation inquiry is done by the collector. The collectors are vested with the same power as are vested in the civil courts for the trial of suits. The collector shall publish a proclamation within a period of sixty days.

Powers 

Section 23 of the Wildlife Protection Act defines the powers of the collector. The collector may exercise the following powers:

  • To enter upon any land and to survey, demarcate the same and to authorize any other officer to do so.
  • The same power is vested in a civil court for the same.

Delegation of Collector’s powers

Section 26 of the Wildlife Protection Act deals with the delegations of the collector’s power. The State Government, by general order or special order, directs that the powers are exercisable.  The functions to be performed by the collector are provided under Section 19 to 25. It may be exercised and performed by other officers as specified in the order. 

Acquisition of rights

Section 24 of the Wildlife Protection Act deals with the acquisition of rights and they are as follows:

  • If anyone claims a right in and over any land referred to in Section 19 then the collector can pass an order admitting or rejecting the same either in whole or in parts.
  • If the claim is admitted in whole or in part then the collector can either-
  • Exclude that land from the limit of the proposed sanctuary, or 
  • Proceed to acquire such land, except if an agreement between the owner of the land and the holder and the government and if the owner has agreed to surrender his rights to the government and payment of such compensation as is provided in the Land Acquisition Act, in consultation with the Chief Wildlife Warden.  

Acquisition proceedings

Section 25 of the Wildlife Protection Act deals with the acquisition of proceedings. It says that:

  • For acquiring such land, the collector takes an action and the proceeding will carry on under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
  • For acquiring such land, the claimant shall be considered to be an interested person and appearing before him in pursuance of giving the notice under Section 9.
  • The collector with the consent of the claimant or the court may award compensation in land or money, in whole or in part.
  • In case of the stoppage of public way or common paster, the collector with the previous sanction of the State Government, provides an alternate way for public stoppage.
  • The acquisition under this Act of any land shall be deemed as the acquisition for a public purpose.

Time-limit for completion of acquisition proceedings

Section 25A of the Wildlife Protection Act deals with the time limit for the completion of the acquisition proceedings. It says that the collector shall complete the proceedings under section 19 to 25 within the period of two years from the date of notification of declaration of sanctuary. The notification shall not fail for any reason, if so, then the proceeding will not be complete within the period of two months.

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Protection of Sanctuaries

There are different ways to protect the sanctuaries. In the Wildlife Protection Act, under different sections, various ways to protect the wildlife are given.

Restriction on the entry in the sanctuary

Section 27 deals with the restriction on the entry which means that no person will enter other than-

  1. Public servant who is on duty.
  2. Person who is permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden or by an authorized officer.
  3. who has any right over the immovable property within the limits of the sanctuary.
  4. Person passing through the sanctuary by public highway.

Every person if he resides in the sanctuary be bound:

  1. To prevent the commission in the sanctuary against an offense.
  2. If someone believes that against this Act any offense has been committed then one should help in discovering and arresting the offender.
  3. One should report the death of any wild animal to the Chief Wildlife Warden or authorized officer to take charge.
  4. No person can tease any wild animal or throw the garbage on the ground of sanctuary.
  5. If there is any fire so to extinguish and prevent the sanctuary from the same.

Grant of permit

Section 28 of the Wildlife Protection Act deals with granting the permission. The permission will be given only for the purpose:

  1. To investigate or study of wildlife
  2. Photography
  3. Scientific research
  4. Tourism
  5. Transaction of lawful business with any person

A permission to enter a sanctuary shall be issued on such conditions and the payment shall be made as prescribed.

Destruction in a sanctuary prohibited without a permit

Section 29 deals with the destruction in a sanctuary that is prohibited without a permit. It says that no person shall destroy, exploit or remove any wildlife, including forest produce from a sanctuary or destroy or damage the habitat of wild animals, by doing any act like stopping or enhancing the flow of water into or outside the sanctuary. No permission shall be granted until the State Government is satisfied with the changes like the flow of water, if the government feels that it is for the betterment of the wildlife only then, changes can be made.

Causing fire prohibited

Section 30 deals with the prohibition on causing fire. It says that no person shall set fire in a sanctuary or leave a fire burning in the sanctuary as to endanger such sanctuary.

Prohibition of entry into the sanctuary with the weapon

Section 31 deals with the prohibition of entry into the sanctuary with the weapons. It says that no person shall enter with the weapons except for those who take permission in writing from the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorized officer. 

Ban on the use of injurious substances

Section 32 deals with the ban on the use of injurious substances in the sanctuary. It says that no person shall use any kind of chemicals, explosives or any other substances which may cause injury to the wild animals in the sanctuary. 

Control of sanctuaries

Section 33 deals with the management of the sanctuaries. It says that the Chief Wildlife Warden shall be the authority who controls, manages and maintains the wildlife sanctuaries as:

  1. It may construct roads, buildings, bridges, fences or gates and can make such other things which are necessary for the sanctuaries.
  2. They can take such steps that ensure the security of wild animals and the preservation of the sanctuary.
  3. They can take such measures which help in the improvement of wildlife and the habitat.
  4. They can regulate, control or prohibit the grazing and movement of livestock for the welfare of wildlife.

Immunization of live-stock

Section 33A deals with the immunization of livestock. It says that the Wildlife Warden shall take such measures that may be prescribed for the immunization against communicable diseases in the livestock kept in or within five-kilometer of a sanctuary. 

No person shall take or cause any livestock without getting it immunized. 

Advisory Committee 

Section 33B deals with the matter of the advisory committee. It says that the State government constitutes an Advisory Committee consisting of the Chief Life Warden and shall include a member of the state legislature within the sanctuary. There are three representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, two representatives of non-governmental organizations and three individuals active in the field of wildlife conservation, one representative each from departments dealing with home matters. Honorary Wildlife Warden and the office-in-charge of the sanctuary as member-secretary of the committee.

The committee shall give advice on measures to be taken for the better conservation and management of the sanctuary. The committee shall regulate its own procedure including quorum.

Registration of certain persons in possession of arms

Section 34 deals with the registration of certain persons in possession of arms within the 3 months from the declaration of any area as a sanctuary. Every person residing within ten kilometers of any such sanctuary and holding a license under the Arms Act, it shall be applied in such form and the payment of fees shall be done within the prescribed time period.

National Park

A national park is a park which is used for protection purposes. It protects places of natural beauty. The national park provides a safe home to the natural beauty and protects the animals.

Declaration of National Parks

Section 35 deals with the declaration of national parks. It says:

  • An area which by reason is ecological, has fauna, flora or with other benefits related to the wildlife needs to be constituted as a national park. To protect the wildlife, it may be constituted by the notification.
  • If any area is intended to be declared as a national park it is first applied to investigation of the land and determination of the claims.
  • No one can enter except the person who brings livestock for the animal.
  • The state government has all the rights of lands to be included in the national parks. State government should issue a notification specifying the limits of the area which is within the national park.
  • Only on the recommendation of the national board, the changes to the boundaries of national parks can be made.

Conservation reserve

Section 36 deals with the declaration and the management of the conservation reserve. As are mentioned below:

Declaration and management of a conservation reserve

Section 36A deals with the declaration and management of a conservation reserve. The state government after consultation with the local community declares that any area owned by the government adjacent to the national parks and sanctuaries is connected with one protected area to another. The central government has the power over conservation reserve with its prior concern.

Conservation reserve management committee

Section 36B deals with the committee management of conservation reserve. It says that the state government shall constitute a conservation reserve management committee to advise the Chief Wildlife Warden to conserve, manage and maintain the conservation reserve.

For the forest and wildlife department, the committee consists of a representative, who will be the member secretary of that committee. There should be one representative of each village panchayat in whose jurisdiction the reserve is located and the three representatives of non-governmental organizations working in the field of wildlife conservation and one representative each from the Department of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

Community reserve

Section 36C and Section 36D deals with the declaration and management of community reserve.

Declaration and management of community reserve

Section 36C deals with the declaration and management of community reserve. It says that the state government declares any private or community land not within a national park, sanctuary, or conservation reserve, as a community reserve for protecting fauna, flora and traditional or cultural conservation values and practices.

The provision of sub-section (2) of Section 18, sub-section (2), (3) and (4) of Section 27, Section 30, 32 and clauses (b) and (c) of Section 33 shall as far as it may apply in relation to the sanctuary.

After issuing of the notification, no change in the land use pattern shall be made within the community reserve.

Community reserve management committee

  • Section 36D deals with the community reserve management committee. The state government shall constitute a community reserve management committee which shall be the authority responsible for maintaining and managing.
  • The committee shall consist of five representatives.
  • The committee shall be a competent authority to prepare and implement the management for the community reserve.
  • The community should elect a Chairman who can also be the Honorary Wildlife Warden on the committee reserve.

Power of Central Government to declare areas as sanctuaries or National Parks

Section 38 defines the power of the Central Government to declare areas as sanctuaries or national parks. It says that:

  • The state government grants or transfers any area under its control. The central government, if satisfied with the conditions of the specified area, can declare it as a sanctuary or a national park by the notification.
  • The central government has the power to declare sanctuaries or national parks if the government is satisfied by the conditions which are given in section 35.
  • A sanctuary or national park which is declared by the central government, the powers and duties of that sanctuary or national park are given to the Chief Wildlife Warden and an authorized officer on behalf of the Warden.

Difference between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

      Basis 

          Wildlife sanctuary

                National park

    

    Meaning 

It is natural habitat, owned by the government or private agency for the protection of wild animals.

It is a protected area which is established by the government for the wildlife.

    Preserve 

Animals, birds, insects, reptiles, etc.

Flora, fauna, landscape, etc.

    Objective 

To maintain the wildlife population and their habitat.

To protect the natural and historic objects and wildlife.

    Restriction 

Less restricted and open for all.

Highly restricted, no random person is allowed.

    Official permission

   Not required 

                Required 

  Boundaries 

    Not fixed 

          Fixed by legislation 

Human activity 

Allowed to a certain extent 

            Not allowed at all

Conclusion

This Act provides all the provisions for the protection of wildlife. It provides restriction and registration for the welfare of the sanctuaries and national parks. To conclude this whole Wildlife Protection Act, according to me, the National Protection Act should have a permanent commission. A commission can particularly work on wildlife protection as the government doesn’t have enough time to monitor the same.

As even nowadays, many animals die due to various reasons, so it is necessary to monitor them so that this Act can be taken seriously. This Act protects various acts for the safeguard of animals but there is no one who can particularly focus only on the protection of this Act.


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