Wildlife Protection Act
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This article is written by Gursimran Kaur Bakshi, a student at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi and J. Suparna Rao from Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies. This article analyses the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and how it has impacted the development of wildlife protection in India. 

Table of Contents


Every year, Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April. This year the world celebrated the 51st Earth Day with the theme Restoring our Earth.’ India too celebrated this day. But in this same year, the news of how poaching of wildlife animals has doubled during the lockdown in India was also reported. This makes the theme truly realistic as it shows that we have lost touch with mother earth. 

The Supreme Court of India in T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union Of India (2012) referred to a quote, “The universe along with its creatures belongs to the Lord. No creature is superior to any other. Human beings should not be above nature. Let no one species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species.

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This quote was referred to for a reason. It was to emphasize the quintessential importance of preserving and conserving the environment and its components. Nature is the creator and the destroyer. 

According to Charles Darwin, only the fittest is meant to survive. As a creator, nature exists through the flora and fauna in an ecosystem to sustain life. However, in the last few decades, mankind has introduced changes that are detrimental to the existence of both flora and fauna. 

These are mostly artificial changes that have certainly interfered with nature’s way of working. It has resulted in climate change, modification in the natural habitats of the animals, and pollution due to deforestation to name a few. 

Earlier, there were boundaries existing between human civilization and that of flora and fauna. But the unnatural changes in the environment have now diminished that boundary resulting in human-wildlife conflict. That is the reason why wildlife animals are now often found wandering outside their habitat. This is because humans have hampered the equilibrium that existed. 

Let’s understand the laws that impact the protection and conservation of wildlife in India. 

Protection of wildlife in India

In India, wildlife conservation and protection are maintained under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (‘The Act’). The Act is a product of the times when environmental jurisprudence was rapidly developing in India with due credit to judicial activism. 

The Act was enacted keeping in mind that all previous laws such as the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1912 were insufficient. The current Act is comprehensive and covers all the gaps that were present in the earlier laws. 

However, there are still substantive gaps existing in the present law. There is a vacuum between the theoretical law and its practical implementation. Further, the objective of the Act has also been diluted due to bureaucratic interference. 

Overview of the Constitutional framework on wildlife protection 

The Constitutional framework for the protection of wildlife, forest, and environment are present under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The right to life includes the right of living in a clean and healthy environment. 

Article 48A of the Directive Principle of State Policy puts a non-binding obligation on the state to protect and conserve the environment and to safeguard forest and wildlife. Article 51A(g), too, puts a non-binding obligation on the citizens to protect the forest, wildlife, rivers, and animals of the country. 

These obligations have been fulfilled by both the central and the state governments by adding the term ‘forest’ under Entry 17A and protection of wildlife and birds to Entry 17B of the Concurrent List by 42nd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1976

There is a set of laws that concerns itself with environmental protection and wildlife which are:

Some popular wildlife sanctuaries in India

  1. Corbett National park, Uttarakhand
  2. Ranthambore National park, Rajasthan
  3. Bandipur National park, Karnataka
  4. Keoladeo Ghana National park, Rajasthan
  5. Nagarhole National park, Karnataka
  6. Sariska National park, Rajasthan
  7. Kaziranga National park, Assam.

Overview of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

The Act is a small piece of model legislation that only covered birds and animals specified as per the Schedule present under the Act. It gave the State Governments the power to protect and preserve animals and birds as per Section 3. Section 3 also prohibited the capturing, killing, selling, buying, possessing of the animals including their plumage (feathers). 

Section 4 granted an exemption to Section 3, only when the state government was of the opinion that the above-mentioned measures are in the interest of scientific research. A person can then be granted a license subjected to further restrictions if any. 

Another exception was available under Section 3. The exception allowed a person to kill or capture animals and birth in self-defence of himself, or other, or in the self-defence of property. 

The Wildlife Protection Act protects all kinds of animals from amphibians to birds, mammals, and reptiles under Section 2(1). The definition is exhaustive and can accommodate a variety of animals within the scope of protection. The Act extends protection to specified plants that cannot be destroyed and damaged without the approval of the government. 

Important provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972


Section 1

This Act is named ‘Wild Life Protection Act, 1972’. This Act has been accepted by all the states and it is applicable to the whole of India.

Section 2

This section gives definition of the following words.-

  1. ‘Animal’-  According to this section the word animal includes mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and their eggs.
  2. ‘Animal article’- Refers to any article or object made from a wild animal wherein the whole body or a particular part of them has been used. This does not include vermin(wild animals that are harmful to crops, game or farm animals or carry various infectious diseases).
  3. ‘Board’- The advisory board constituted for the wildlife protection and as mentioned in sub-section (1) of section (6).
  4. ‘Captive animal’- Any animal which is kept or bred in captivity, which is described in Schedule 1; Schedule 2Schedule 3; and Schedule 4. It can also be described as animals which live under human care.
  5. ‘Chief wildlife warden’- It is the statutory authority that heads the wildlife department of a state.
  6. ‘Circus’- It refers to the establishment where animals are made to perform and various tricks are performed on them.
  7. ‘Closed area’- Area which is declared closed for hunting and where hunting is prohibited. It is described in sub-section (1)  of Section 37 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  8. ‘Collector’- It is a person who is the chief officer in charge of the revenue administration of a district.
  9. ‘Commencement of this Act’- The commencement of the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act in the state.
  10. ‘Dealer’- Refers to any person who is engaged in the business of buying and selling animal articles, captive animal, trophy, uncurled trophy.
  11. ‘Director’- It refers to a person who has been appointed as the Director of Wildlife Preservation, described in sub-section (1) of Section 3.
  12. ‘Forest Officer’- Refers to the forest officer appointed for the wildlife protection, as described under clause 2 of Section 2 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  13. ‘Government Property’- It refers to any property belonging to the government or is in possession of the government, and as described in the provisions of Section 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
  14. ‘Habitat’- Any land, water, vegetation which is a natural home of the wild animals.
  15. ‘Hunting’- It includes poisoning, killing, trapping any wild animal or making an attempt to do so. It also includes driving any animal for any particular purpose, injuring any wild animal or any of their body parts or killing the eggs of reptiles and birds, or disturbing the nest or eggs of the reptiles or birds.
  16. ‘Land’- It refers to canals, creeks and other various water channels, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, either artificial or natural.
  17. ‘License’- It refers to any license which has been granted under this Act.
  18. ‘Livestock’- It includes cows, buffalos, donkeys, goats, camels, sheep, pigs, mules, yaks,  bulls, horses and also their young ones.
  19. ‘Manufacturer’- Means anyone who makes or manufactures articles made of wild animals.
  20. ‘Meat’- It includes blood, bones, flesh, fat, eggs, sinew, other than vermin, it can be either cooked or raw, of a wild animal.
  21. ‘National park’- Means an area declared by the government as a national park for the protection of animals, as described under section 35 or section 38, or under sub-section (3) of section 66. 
  22. ‘Notification’- Notification given by the government for the establishment, maintenance of the wildlife sanctuaries, national parks or any notification published in the Official Gazette.
  23. ‘Permit’- It refers to permission granted under this Act or any provisions or rules of this Act.
  24. ‘Person’- It includes any person and also a firm.
  25. ‘Prescribed’- It refers to anything prescribed by rules under this Act.
  26. ‘Recognised zoo’- It refers to the zoo prescribed under section 38.
  27. ‘Reserve forest’- The area which is declared as reserved for forest by the State Government under this Act, as described under section 20 of  The Indian Forest Act, 1972. 
  28. ‘Sanctuary’- Means an area which has been declared as sanctuary and as described under section 26(A), or section 38 or sub-section (3) of the Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
  29. ‘Specified plant’- Refers to any plant which has been specified to be protected and as described under Schedule 4 of this Act.
  30. ‘State Government’- Administrator of that union territory appointed by the President under Article 239 of Indian Constitution.
  31. ‘Taxidermy’ – It refers to preserving the dead animals, or any body part partly or wholly in the form of trophies, or skins, rugs, specimens in mounted form by the process of taxidermy or antlers, feathers, teeth, masks, eggs, nests, rhinoceros horns in the form of trophies.
  32. ‘Uncured trophy’- Refers to trophies which have the mounted body part of the wild animal or wild animal wholly, which includes freshly killed animal, mask or other animal product which has not undergone the taxidermy process.
  33. ‘Vehicle’- Means anything which is used as conveyance in the land, water or air and which includes buffalo, camel, donkey, bullock, horse, mule and elephant.
  34. ‘Vermin’- Refers to animals which are dangerous to the crops, farm animals or animals which carry various kinds of diseases, as described in Schedule 5 of this Act.
  35. ‘Weapon’- It refers to any instrument which is capable of killing or proves to be dangerous for the life of wild animals such as bows, arrows, ammunition, firearms, explosives, hooks, nets, traps, knives, snares.
  36. ‘Wild Animals’- This refers to any animal which is of wild nature as compared to other species of animals and includes any animal which is specified in Schedule 1, Schedule 2, Schedule 4 or Schedule 5 wherever it is found.
  37. ‘Wildlife Warden’- It means any person appointed by the advisory board members and as specified in Section 4 of this Act.
  38. ‘Zoo’- A licensed dealer who kept captive animals for the public exhibition but not for circus or any other purpose, it can be either stationary or mobile.

Director of Wildlife and Chief Life Warden

Director of wildlife preservation 

  • The Central Government is empowered to appoint the Director of Wildlife Preservation under Section 3
  • The Director shall be subjected to general or specific directions by the Central Government. 
  • The Central Government can also appoint any other officers as it may be deemed necessary.

Chief Wildlife Warden

  • The State Government is required to appoint the Chief Wildlife Warden, Wildlife Wardens, and Honorary Wildlife Wardens under Section 4 respectively. 
  • The Chief Wildlife Warden will be subject to the general or special directions of the State Government. 

Power of delegation of the Director of wildlife preservation and Chief Wildlife Warden

  • The respective persons in position, such as the Director and the Chief Wildlife Warden, are supposed to report it to the respective governments.
  • They are empowered under Section 5 to delegate their powers with the prior approval of their governments and by order in writing. 

Constitution of the National Board for Wildlife

The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002, added Section 5A for the Constitution of the National Board for Wildlife (‘The Board’). 

Composition of the Board

  • The Prime Minister is the chairperson of the National Board of Wildlife. 
  • The Board is to be constituted within three months of the amendment in the Act. 
  • The function of the Board, as specified under Section 5C, is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forest. 
  • It can also frame policies and advise the central and the state governments on ways and means of promoting wildlife conservation and effectively controlling poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and its products. 

Duties of Board

  • The Board is supposed to publish a status report at least once in two years on the condition of wildlife conservation in the country. 
  • The Board is required to make recommendations on the setting up of and management of national parks, sanctuaries, and other protected areas where certain activities are prohibited. 
  • The Board can declare protected areas under the Act as sanctuaries and national parks under Section 18 and Section 35 respectively. 
  • The Board can delegate its duties to the Standing Committee under Section 5B(1).  

Constitution of the State Board for Wildlife

  • The Act also establishes a State Board for Wildlife under Section 6 with the Chief Minister of the State as its Chairperson and the Administrator, as the case may be, in the Union Territory. 
  • The Board includes ten persons to be nominated by the state government from amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists, and environmentalists including at least two representatives of the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The National Board is also supposed to nominate ten persons at the central level. 

About the procedure and duties of the State Board 

  • The State Board is required to meet at least twice a year under Section 7
  • They are under an obligation to advise the state government to formulate policies for the protection and conservation of wildlife and specified plants under Section 8.  
  • They are also required to advice for the selection and management of areas to be declared as protected areas.
  • Further, they have to advice in matters relating to the amendment under the Fourth and Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, including measures to be taken for harmonising the needs of the tribals and other forest dwellers.  

Grant of permit for special purposes under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Section 12 

This section states that permission for hunting can be granted for special purposes. Under this section, it will be lawful for the Chief Wildlife Warden to grant permission for hunting by giving an order in writing and collecting the prescribed fee from that person so that he may be entitled for hunting for special purposes. Provided that such a permit should be granted with previous permission of the Central Government or State Government. Such special purposes are given below-

  1. For the purpose of education.
  2. For scientific research such as shifting of a wild animal to different habitats to observe the scientific changes in them.
  3. For scientific management such as to maintain the healthy population of any kind of particular species.
  4. For collecting the specimens of various kinds from the animal body so as to display it in a museum or any such similar institutions.
  5. For collecting the snake venom for manufacturing various kinds of medicinal drugs.

Cancellation or suspension of license under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Section 13

This section states that the Chief Wildlife Warden or any such authorised officer can cancel or suspend the license of a person, by general or special order of the State Government in writing and also provide such valid reasons for the suspension or cancellation of the license.

Scheduled species under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 has been divided into six schedules. Each schedule gives a varied form of protection. Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 provide absolute protection to the wild animals and for the violation of such provisions the penalty charged is very high. While in Schedule 3 and Schedule 4 animals are protected here but the penalty charged is low. Schedule 5 states the list of animals which can be hunted and Schedule 6 states the list of specified endemic plants which are prohibited for cultivation and planting.

Schedule 1 

Part 1

It contains the following animals namely Andaman wild pig, cheetah, black buck, Indian gazelle, Indian Bison or Gaur, golden cat, hoolock, gangetic dolphin, fishing cat, clouded leopard, chinese pangolin, dugong, Indian elephant, hispid hare, golden cat, desert fox, caracal, desert fox, panther, musk deer, pallas’s cat, pygmy hog, Indian wild ass, marbled cat, slow loris, rhinoceros, snubfin dolphin, tibetan wild ass, tibetan wolf, nilgiri tahr, red panda, leopard cat, wild buffalo, shapu, rusty-spotted cat.

Part 2

It contains the following amphibians and reptiles namely Peacock marked soft-shelled turtle, crocodiles, Indian egg-eating snakes, logger head turtle, golden gecko, terrapin turtle, yellow monitor lizard, green sea turtle, leathery turtle, hawksbill turtle, ganges soft-shelled turtles, audithia turtle, gharial, large bengal monitor lizard, water lizard, pythons.

Part 2 (A)

It contains the following fishes namely Whale shark, himantura fluviatilis, urogymnus asperrimus, rhynchobatus djiddensis, anoxypristis cuspidata, glyphis gangeticus, pristis microdon, glyphis glyphis, carcharhinus hemiodon.

Part 3

It contains birds namely Bengal florican, large falcons, Andaman teal, black-necked crane, swiftlets, monal pheasants, white winged wood duck, large falcons, Great Indian bustard, mountain quail, peafowl, tibetan snow cock, white-eared pheasants, pink-headed duck, great Indian hornbill, narcondam hornbill, tragopan pheasant, fish-eating eagle, siberian white crane, white-bellied hereon, hill myna, vultures, kalij pheasant, tibetan eared pheasant.

Part 4

This contains the list of crustacean and insects namely comic oakblue, cornelian, sapphires, hedge blue, sophisa Chandra, helcyra hemin, admirals, butterfly, tigers, crow black spotted, crow blue spotted, lycaenops, orchid, dillpa morgiana, family pieridae, polydorus coon sambilana, delias samaca, cyllogenes janetae, erebia annada, lethe Europa tamnua, papilio elephenor, symbrenthia silana, polydorus nevilli, colias dubi ,lethe ramdeva, elymnias peali, polydorus coon sambilana, polydorus hector, aporia harrietae harrietae, ypthima doherryi persimilis etc.

Part 4 (A)

This contains the list of coelenterates namely orange pipe coral (Tubipora musica), reef building coral which includes all scleractinians, fire coral which includes all millepora species, black coral which includes all antipatharians, sea fan which includes all gorgonians.

Part 4 (B)

It includes list of mollusca such as tudicla spirallus, cypraecassis rufa,  cassis cornuta, tridacna maxima, nautilus pompilius, conus milneedwardsi, tridacna squamosal.

Part 4 (C)

It includes Echinodermata sea cumber which includes all holothurians.

Schedule 2

Part 1

It includes bonnet macaque, Bengal porcupine, common langur, assamese macaque, stump tailed macaque, ferret badgers, wild dog or dhole, pig tailed macaque, Himalayan crestless porcupine, chameleon, Himalyan newtor salamander, spiny tailed lizard.

Part 2

It includes species of  beetles and other animals namely stichophthalma nourmahal, enispe cycnus, family amathueidae, discophora dea deadites, faunis sumens assama, amathuxida amythaon amythaon, aemona amathusia amathusia, discophora lepida lepida, family carabidae, gopala pita, acrocrypta rotundata, bimala indica, amara brucei, broscosma gracile, family cucujidae, family danaidae, cucujus bicolor, halpe homolea, amblypodia aenea, charana jalindra, horage onyx, lampides boeticus, everes kala, nacaduba ancyra, mahathala ameria, pratapa deva, rapala icetas, spindasis lohita, tajuria sebonga, tajuria thyia, civets (all species of viverridae Malabar civet), common fox, flying squirrels, king cobra, red fox, weasels, Indian cobra, rat snake, sloth bear, jungle cat, marmots, Himalayan black bear, olivaceous keelback, sperm whale, otters, martens, Himalayan brown bear, checkered keelback snake,jackal, common fox, dog faced  water snake, grey jungle fowl, Russel viper, mongooses, varanus species excluding yellow monitor lizard.

Schedule 3

This schedule includes the list of following animals- barking deer, wild pig, chital, sambar, hegdeer, nilgai, hyaena, gorals.

Schedule 4

This schedule includes Indian porcupine, birds other than those which appear in other schedules, polecats which includes vormela peregusna, mustela putorius, five striped palm squirrel, babblers, hedge hog, flamingos, buntings, finches, bulbuls, falcons, bustard qualis, fairy bluebirds, chloropsis, egrets, comb duck, ducks, coots, drongos, cormorants, doves, cranes, cuckoos, darters, curlews, megapodes, flowerpeckers, mannikins, flycatchers, magpies, geese, lorikeets, goldfinch and allies, larks, grebes, kingfishers, gerons, junglefowl, ibises, jacanas, iorars, minivest, owls, pigeons except the blue rock pigeon, starlings, pelicans, partridges, blue jays, pelicans, pipits, stone curlew, spurfowls, plovers, storks, sandgrouses, stilts, swans, thurushes, sunbirds, snipes, oystercatchers, orioles, nightjara, mynas, starlings, tree pies, weaver birds, woodpeckers, amilidae, wrens, viperidae, elapidae, hydrophidae, uropeltidae, typhlopidae, butterflies and moths, freshwater frogs, tortoise, three-keeled turtle, polytrema sinensis, tarucus ananda, polytrema discreta, euthalia lubentina, pelopidas assamensis, mollusca.

Schedule 5  

This schedule includes rats, common crows, mice, fruit bats, jackal, bats.

Schedule 6

It includes blue vanda, red vanda, pitcher plant, kuth, beddomes cycad, ladies slipper orchids, pitcher plant.

Sanctuaries under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Section 18 

This section deals with the declaration of the sanctuary. The sanctuaries are declared by the State government. They have the authority to declare any area as a sanctuary by an official notification any area as wildlife sanctuary, provided that area is not already a reserve forest or have territorial waters. Any area to be declared as a sanctuary should have adequate floral, zoological significance, and adequate ecological, faunal significance for the proper protection and preservation and also for developing proper environment for wild animals.

Section 19

Under section 19 the collector has to determine the nature, extent of a right of any person in or over the land which has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary. He has a right to inquire into the interference of any person with the land which has been reserved as wildlife sanctuary.

Section 21

The notification which has been issued by the state government shall be published in all regional languages by the collector in every town or village, specially in the neighbourhood of the area comprising therein so as to specify the restrictions and limitations of the wildlife sanctuary. It also gives a chance to any other person claiming right over the property to present before the collector within two months from the date of such proclamation. The claim made by such a person must be in written form and should contain the necessary details, the amount, compensation details, if any, claimed in respect of such claim of property.

Section 22

The collector after publishing such notice, should enquire on such claimant. It should ensure that such a person who is claiming on the property which has been declared as wildlife sanctuary has actual right on it and the claim preferred before him was presented according to the section 21 of the Wildlife Protection Act. This can be ascertained from the evidence presented by such a person or from the records of the State Government.

Section 23

Section 23 talks about the powers of the collector which he may exercise during the due course of enquiry. The collector has an authority to send any official or to himself enter in or upon any land for the purpose of investigation, demarcate and make maps of the same.it has power to approach civil court for the trial of suit.

Section 24 and Section 25 

Under this section, the collector has to pass an order by rejecting or either by admitting the claim of a person claiming right over a property which has already been declared as the National Park or Sanctuary or Zoo. He can admit or reject the claim either in whole or in part. If the claim is accepted by the collector in whole or in part he shall exclude such land from the list of restricted areas or the areas which has been declared as wildlife sanctuary, or collector may pass an order to proceed to acquire such land by the agreement between the owner of the land and government has agreed to surrender his or her rights upon such property and compensation for the same can be paid, or can allow use of such land by the owner of the land within the limit of sanctuary with the consultation of the Chief Wildlife Warden. The collector may provide compensation in form of money or partly in property with the consent of court or with the consent of claimant.

Section 27 

This section talks about the restriction in the sanctuary.

  • It states that no person shall enter or reside in the limits of the sanctuary other than the public servant who is on duty, any person who has taken a permission from Chief Wildlife Warden or any authorised officer who has taken the permission to reside within the limits of the sanctuary, any person who has a lawful right over the immovable property within the limits of the sanctuary, any person who is passing by the sanctuary through a highway and also the dependents of the authorised officer, dependents of the person having right over immovable property, or the dependents of a person who is staying within the limits of the sanctuary.
  • It states that any person who resides within the limits of the sanctuary is bound to not commit an offence, if it is found that any kind of offence is done against the Act, such a person is bound to help in finding the offender, he or she is bound to report the death of any wild animal and also to take the charge of such an animal until the Chief Wildlife Warden takes the charge thereof, such a person is bound to extinguish any fire in such sanctuary of which he has knowledge or wherein a reasonable man could have known, such a person is also bound to assist the forest officer or chief wildlife warden or police officer in investigation of the offence.
  • No person herein concerned shall molest any wild animal and should not be causing any damage, destroy, move or alter the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary.

Hunting and poaching are prohibited under the Act with exceptions 

The Act prohibits hunting of wild animals specified in Schedules I, II, III, and IV including Indian Elephant, Indian Lion, Snow Leopard, Tiger, and Great Indian Bustard to name a few under Section 9. However, the ban on hunting is not absolute and it can be permitted in certain cases under Section 11

Hunting under Section 11

  • Wildlife animals protected under Schedule I of the Act can be hunted only by the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden. Only if that animal proves to be dangerous to the life of the human being or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery. 
  • The Chief Wildlife warden can permit, by an order in writing and on his satisfaction with reasons, that the animal cannot be captured, tranquilised, or translocated in such a manner as to cause minimum trauma to the animal. 
  • Capturing the animal to be kept in captivity has to be done only when the Chief Wildlife Warden is satisfied that the animal cannot be rehabilitated.     
  • Wildlife animals under Schedule II, III, and IV can be hunted by the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer if that animal has become dangerous to human life or property (including standing crops on any land). 
  • The animal can also be hunted, if it is disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery. The same process has to be followed by the Chief Wildlife Warden to permit the hunting of animals or a group of animals for the specified reason in the specified area.
  • Section 11 also allows the hunting or wounding of any wild animal in bodily defence only if it has to be done in good faith and that harmed animal will be the government’s property. But claiming defence should not preclude the person’s liability under the Act if he was committing an offence under it. 

Hunting under Section 12 is permitted  

  • Apart from these, the Chief Wildlife Warden can permit hunting for the purpose of education, scientific research, and scientific management to a person who has fulfilled the requisites under Section 12 including the payment of prescribed fees. 

Hunting rights of scheduled tribes under Section 65

  • Section 65 protects the hunting rights of the scheduled tribes in the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Island which shall not be affected by any provision under the Act. 

Under Section 39 hunted animals to be government property

  • Any animal held captive or hunted under any provision of this Act or under Section 11 or Section 29(1) or Section 35(6), or are found dead or killed by mistake will belong to the state government. 
  • But this shall not include vermin. Vermin are pests that cause nuisance and the central government has the authority to declare any wildlife as vermin under Section 62.
  • Any animal trophy, article, or uncured trophy or meat derived from the animals referred above will also belong to the government.  
  • If the animal is hunted in a sanctuary or national park declared by the central government, then that property shall belong to the central government under Section 39(1).

Under Section 51 on the violation of laws under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • Under Section 51 of the Act, any violation of the laws and rules as specified under the Act will lead to imprisonment which may extend to three years, and a fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees.
  • Any offence against the wildlife animals protected under Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II would lead to imprisonment for a minimum of three years and a minimum fine of ten thousand rupees. 
  • Further, if the meat of any such animal as specified in the above category, or animal article, trophy, or uncured trophy derived from such animal, this will also be punishable as same as above. 
  • Lastly, if the offence relates to the hunting of animals in a sanctuary or a National Park, this will also be punishable as the same as above. 
  • Subsequent violations will result in the punishment for a maximum of three years and a minimum fine of twenty-five thousand. 
  • The Court, trying the accused persons in the above offence, can order the state government to forfeit any of the materials made out of the wildlife animal. The license of the person can also be seized. 

The recognition of protected areas under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • The Act categorises certain areas as protected areas in the form of sanctuaries and national parks under Section 18 and Section 35 respectively. 

Sanctuaries as a protected area 

  • Under Section 18, the State Government can declare a certain area as a sanctuary, if it has adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural, or zoological significance, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment. 
  • Currently, there are 566 wildlife sanctuaries existing in India. 
  • Recently, Ramgarh Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as the 52nd wildlife sanctuary by the state government of Rajasthan and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (‘NTCA’). 
  • For the purpose of declaring a sanctuary, the area must not be a reserve forest or territorial waters and a visiting permit can be given for the purpose of scientific research, tourism, photography, and transacting lawful business with the person residing in the sanctuary. 

On the rights of persons affected

  • The rights of the persons affected when the government acquires land for the purpose of establishing a sanctuary will be dealt with by the collector appointed by the State Government. 
  • The collector is supposed to publish a notification in the regional language and any person having objection can file the same in writing and within two months of such proclamation as specified under Section 21
  • The Act further allows the collector to inquire on the objections which he may accept or reject, based on his finding. 
  • Once the objections are rejected, the collector is required to go forth on the proceedings to acquire the lands in pursuance of his powers under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (as amended in Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013).

National parks as a protected area 

  • Under Section 35, the State Government can declare an area as a national park based on its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, or zoological importance. That area may also be a sanctuary.  
  • The State Government shall vest the land rights of that area but cannot alter its boundaries without the prior approval of the national wildlife board. 
  • No person has the right to destroy or damage the forest produce or divert the wildlife habitat of any animals in the national park. 
  • Currently, there are 104 national parks recognised and existing in India under the Act.  
  • The state government can declare an area as a National Park by official notification if it finds that such an area is by reason of its ecological, faunal, floral, zoological association deems fit for the purpose of establishing a national park and developing wildlife therein or its environment. The notification should declare the limits of an area which has to be declared as National Park.
  • When an area is to be declared as National Park shall apply for the investigation and determination of claims with respect to the area concerned. When the period for claims has elapsed and if any claim has arisen in relation to the land in question have been disposed of by the State Government, then all rights over the area which has to be declared as national park will be vested in the State Government.
  • The alteration of the boundaries of a National Park cannot be made unless there is a resolution passed by the state legislature.
  • No person should destroy or damage or exploit or remove any species of wildlife in the National Park except he or she has the permission granted by the Chief Wildlife Warden. Chief Wildlife Wardens can grant such permits to the concerned person only when the State Government is satisfied that such destruction, damage or exploitation is necessary for improvement, maintenance of the wildlife in the National Park.
  • The livestock grazing is not allowed within the limited area of the National Park. There is an exception to this rule, only the person who has the permission to enter such a National Park and he or she is using such an animal as a vehicle, then the permission is granted for the livestock grazing.

Central Government’s power to declare the National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • The Central Government has the power to declare an area as a sanctuary or national park under Section 38, provided that the requirements of Section 18 are fulfilled. 

Under Section 38K

  • The central authority for the conservation of tigers known as the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) can also be declared by the government under Section 38K

Under Section 38L

Under Section 38O

  • The functions and powers of NTCA as specified under Section 38O include approving the Tiger Conservation Plan made by the state government under Section 38V
  • The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006, added Section 38V which talks about the tiger conservation plan and allows the state government in consultation with the NTCA to declare a particular area as a tiger reserve. 
  • NTCA has to lay down normative standards for tourism activities including guidelines for project tiger. 
  • It has to ensure that the protected areas including tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area to another are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses.

Under Section 38U

  • A Steering Committee is also to be constituted under the Act for the purpose of the state governments to monitor, protect, conserve tigers and co-predators under Section 38U.
  • The Steering Committee shall be headed by the chief ministers of the respective states and the state Minister-in-charge of the wildlife as the vice-chairperson. 

Under Section 38V

  • Section 38V deals with the tiger conservation plan. The plan is to be prepared by the state government. It includes staff development and a deployment plan for the proper management of a tiger reserve. 
  • Tiger reserves shall also include core or critical tiger habitats areas of national parks and sanctuaries. It may also include buffer and peripheral areas as well.  
  • The plan must ensure the protection of tiger reserves, ecologically compatible land uses in the tiger reserves, and other areas linking the protected areas for the purpose of ensuring livelihood concerns of the local people and providing site-specific habitat inputs for an increase in tiger population. 

Under Section 38X

  • Section 38X allows a State Government to establish a tiger conservation foundation within the state to facilitate and support the working of the tiger conversation. 
  • To facilitate the ecological, social, and cultural development of the tiger reserves and to promote eco-tourism.

Central Zoo authority under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Zoos play a vital role in the preservation of wild animals. Section 38A to 38J establishes central zoo authority in India with the objective to conserve biodiversity, particularly animals as per the National Zoo Policy, 1998 and the National Zoo Rules, 1992 (as amended in 2009).

Under Section 38A

  • Section 38A allows the Central Government to establish a central zoo authority with the chairperson, member-secretary, and ten other persons as its members. 
  • These members shall be appointed by the Central Government. 

Under Section 38B

  • The chairperson and the other ten members shall hold the office for three years and they can send their resignation letter to the central government under Section 38B.
  • The Central Government can remove the chairperson and other members from the office, if they become insolvent, get convicted, becomes or are declared as of unsound mind, and refuses to act.

Function and procedure of the zoo authority 

  • The authority is supposed to recognise and derecognise a zoo and assess the functioning of zoos under Section 38C
  • The recognition of a zoo takes place as per the conditions laid down under Section 38H.
  • It also has to ensure the coordination of training of zoo personnel in India and outside. 
  • The authority is required to lay down the minimum standards for housing, upkeep, and veterinary care of the animals in zoos.
  • The authority has the right to regulate its own procedure under Section 38D.

Trade and commerce under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 

Section 39 

This section says all the wild animals are Government Property. It states-

  • wild animals other than vermin, also wild animals which are found dead, or killed by mistake, Trophy or uncured trophy or other animal article or meat derived from the wild animal, ivory imported to India or any article made by such ivory, any vessel, weapon, trap, tool used to hunt the wild animal in the Zoo shall be the property of the State Government and in case of a National Park or Sanctuary then such will be the property of the Central Government.
  • Any person who possesses any Government property, within the time of 48 hours should return it to the nearest police station or authorised officer.
  • No person shall without the prior permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden acquire or keep anything in his possession or control, transfer such property by way of gift or sale, destroy or damage such government property.

Section 43

This section talks about the regulations in the trade and transfer of the animals. It states-

  • A person who doesn’t have the certificate of ownership, shall not in any case sell or offer to sell by the way of sale or by the way of gift any wild animal which are specified in Schedule 1, Schedule 2, they shall not make any article containing part or whole of any animal part or body, should not be involved in the process of taxidermy except when they have the permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden.
  • If any person is shifting from one state to another and acquires by transfer any animal article, trophy or any uncured trophy from the state in which he used to reside earlier. Such transfer should be within 30 days reported to the Chief Wildlife Warden or any authorised officer whose jurisdiction the transfer has effected. No person who does not possess the ownership certificate should involve in any act of transfer of any animal or animal article or any uncured trophy.
  • While issuing the certificate the Chief Wildlife Warden should do a proper enquiry, shall investigate to whom the earlier ownership certificate belongs to and then issue a fresh certificate in the name of the new owner. Also he or she may affix the identification mark on the body of the animal or uncured trophy or animal article.

A summarized version of the provision is provided hereunder:

  • No person shall have the possession, control, custody, sell or offer for sale animals including the trophy or uncured trophy, article, salted or dried skins of such animals belonging to Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II, without the prior permission of the chief wildlife warden of the state under Section 40.
  • Animals belonging to Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II are termed as scheduled animals as per Section 49A(a).
  • An exception to Section 40 is Section 40(A) where the Central Government, by notification, may allow the same without a declaration. 
  • If persons are in possession of the animals, animal articles, or trophies, before the commencement of the Act, they must declare it to the chief wildlife warden within 30 days the number and description of animals.
  • No person can acquire, receive, possess, custody, or keep in control of any scheduled animal after the 2003 Amendment.
  • Any person inheriting the same shall also make a declaration within 90 days to the Chief Wildlife Warden under Section 40(2B).
  • A lawful possession under Section 40 can also be acquired as per Section 42 by the Chief Wildlife Warden. A certificate of ownership will allow the person to keep the animals in custody or in possession. However, the sale or transfer of the animals even after the certificate of ownership is prohibited under Section 43 without proper authorisation from the Chief Wildlife Warden.
  • A person who has acquired the license cannot capture, control, or take possession of the animal, animal article, uncured trophy, or trophy if a declaration has not been made under Section 44(2). A licensee cannot offer for sale or transport the animals.  
  • Further, no person can commence a business as a manufacturer or dealer of any animal trophies or articles derived from the scheduled animal under Section 49(B).

Prevention of offence under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • The authority to arrest, enter, search, and detention rests with the Director, Chief Wildlife Warden, Forest Officer, and police officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector under Section 50.
  • The authorises can require such persons to produce for the purpose of inspection any animal, animal article, trophy, specified plant, etc. 
  • They can stop and research any vehicle or conduct an inquiry by entering upon a premise or land and seize any captive animal, article, trophy, or uncured trophy, etc. Any person detained shall be taken to the Magistrate. 
  • The power to issue an arrest warrant, compel the attendance of witnesses, receive and record evidence is given to any officer, not below the rank of an Assistant Director of Wildlife Preservation or an officer not below the rank of Assistant Conservator of Forests authorised by the State Government. 
  • This section deals with the power of entry, search, arrest and detention. It states-
    • Notwithstanding with anything contained under any other law in force in the country if any authorised officer or the Director or any other person authorised by him or any other person authorised by the Chief Wildlife Warden or by Chief Wildlife Warden himself or any forest officer or any police officer who is not below the rank of sub-inspector has certain reasonable grounds that any person has committed any offence against this Act-
    1. Can ask such person to produce the required documents or any licence, permit for the inspection of the captive animal, plant or part or derivative of any animal under his control, trophy, uncured trophy, animal article, meat, any specified plant
    2. Can stop any vehicle or vessel for the required search or inquiry of any land, vehicle, premises, any baggage or any other things of such kind in his possession
    3. Can seize any such animal article, vehicle, vessel, weapon, captive animal, meat, trophy, wild animal, uncured trophy, plant or any part of it unless such authorised person is satisfied that person who has committed crime against this Act will appear and answer any charge which is preferred against him. If the fisherman residing within 10 kms of a Sanctuary or National park uses a boat not used for commercial fishing, in the territorial waters in the sanctuary or national park, no such boat will be seized.
    • Any authorised person can order to stop any activity done by a person without any ownership certificate or licence or any permit, provided that according to this Act the permit or licence is required for such act. It is even lawful for the authorised officer to detain any person, to arrest such person unless if he satisfies the officer arresting him that he will duly answer any summons or proceedings which may be taken against him.
    • Any person detained or the things which were seized in the course of exercising the power by any authorised officer, shall be produced before the Magistrate to be dealt in accordance with the law.
    • Any person who has been suspected of acting unlawfully under this Act, if fails to produce the required documents, permit or licence or fails to prove his innocence shall be guilty for an offence under this Act.
    • Where any uncured trophy, wild animal, meat, plant or any derivative of it has been seized by authorised officer, such authorised officer can arrange the sale of the same and will acquire and use the proceeds as may be prescribed under this Act. If it was proved that such property does not belong to the Government then such sale proceeds will be given to the owner.
    • If any person approaches any authorised officer for prevention or detection of an offence, such assistance must be provided by the authorised officer.
    • No person who is below the rank of Assistant Director or Wildlife Chief Warden shall have the power to issue the warrant, to compel any person to produce any document, to receive any evidence or to issue a search warrant.

Cognizance of offences under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Section 55

This section states that no court should in any case take the cognizance or knowledge of any offence committed against this Act on the complaint of any other person than the Chief Wildlife Warden or any other person authorised in his behalf by the state or the Director of the Wildlife Protection or any other person authorised on his behalf or any person who has been given a notice of 60 days to make a complaint of the alleged offence to the Central Government or State Government or any authorised officer therein.

Forfeiture of property derived from illegal hunting and trade

In the Wildlife Amendment Act of 2002, a new chapter was incorporated which is Chapter 6(A). This chapter states that if any person or any group of persons or any trust acquired any property from illegal hunting or prohibited trade of wild animals under this Act the property would be forfeited by the State Government by the authorised officer. Such forfeiture of the property by the State Government can be done by the procedure established by law and by taking necessary steps such as investigation, search or survey of any property, place, people or documents. If it was found that only a part of property was acquired illegally, such a person would be given a chance and will be asked to pay the fine which is equivalent to the market value of the property.

Current status of wildlife development under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Project tiger conservation

Project Tiger Conservation was launched in 1973 to ensure and maintain the population of Bengal tigers. The project tiger is still ongoing with the help of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. 

It allows for the adoption of a conservation plan as specified under Section 38V by the state government for the protection of tiger reserves and their specific habitats. This is for maintaining their population. It is also to maintain ecologically compatible land used in tiger reserves including the linking of it with other protected areas to name a few.

India along with the Kingdom of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Russia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Nepal also entered into the St. Petersburg Declaration to save the remaining tigers in the wild who are on the verge of imminent extinction.

Further, the NTCA in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India has published a document ‘Connecting Tiger Populations for Long-term Conservation’ under which:

  • Thirty-two tiger corridors have been identified for managing tiger movements.
  • These corridors help in streamlining the infrastructure projects and at the same time include mitigation measures for the safe passage of tigers.

The Eco-friendly Measures to Mitigate Impact of Liner Infrastructure Report is based on ‘development without destruction’ and allows for mainstreaming biodiversity at every stage of the development process. 

This could have been possible by making suitable changes in various legislations such as the Forest Conservation Act, 1980; Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011; Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 (as amended in 2009). All of these legislations are in consonance with the objectives under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. 

Project elephant

Project elephant is a central scheme that was launched by the central government in 1992. It proposed a National Elephant Conversation Authority under it to extend financial assistance to states for the protection and conservation of elephants. 

They are included in Schedule I of the Act. Project tiger has also implemented the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (‘MIKES’). Certain elephant corridors were also identified under the 2010 Report of the Elephant Task Force under the Ministry of Forest, Environment, and Climate Change. Total 88 corridors were identified under the Act.  

The Courts have also come forward for the protection of elephant corridors. In a landmark judgment of A. Rangarajan v. UOI (2018), the Court ordered the Tamil Nadu government to close all the illegal resorts in the Nilgiri hills within 48 hours as around that area, the main elephant corridor is there.  

Conservation reserves and community reserves as protected areas added by the 2003 amendment 

There has been a continuous amendment in the Acts such as the 2003 Amendment that extended the concept of the protected area beyond the sanctuary and national park to include conservation reserves and community reserves under Section 36A and Section 36C respectively. 

Conservation and community reserves are referred to as buffer zones and migration corridors which are established in between the protected areas such as the national parks and sanctuaries. Currently, there are 97 conversation reserves and 214 community reserves respectively. Recently, in 2020, Tillari in Maharashtra was declared as a conservation reserve. 

This was proposed in the National Wildlife Plan (2002-16). The centrally sponsored scheme (Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats) was based on the principle of ecocentrism which is nature-centric and allows the human interest to be harmoniously balanced with non-human needs. Protected areas are important and have been globally accepted within the planning approach for the protection of wildlife and conservation of biodiversity.

Wildlife corridors  

Recently, India’s first urban wildlife corridor is being planned between New Delhi and Haryana. The corridor is near the Asola Bhatti wildlife sanctuary to provide safe passage to wildlife animals such as leopards and other animals. 

Wildlife corridors hold a lot of importance in India as these are connected with the protected areas and allow the movement of animals without interfering in human settlement. Often animals in the southern region travel from the protected reserves to other places in search of water. 

In such cases, wildlife corridors play a major role such as the Mudahalli Elephant Corridor is connected with the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve which usually faces drought during summers. Because of this, many mammals migrate to Karnataka and Kerala forests in search of water. But because of the corridor, the movement of animals did not interfere with the human population. 

That is why wildlife corridors are important to minimise human-wildlife conflict. 

Improvements needed in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Issues of poaching and illegal trading persist 

The issue of illegal poaching and trading has not been effective as it is still prevalent in many parts of India such as the smuggling of ivory tusk in Karnataka and Odisha. According to the World Wide Fund (‘WWF’) for Nature’s wildlife trade monitoring network (TRAFFIC), the demand for wildlife doubled during lockdown since people took up trading in wildlife as an alternative source of income. There was also an increase in the demand for meat consumption.

In states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand, Pangolin may become an extinct species as there is an alarming increase in the seizure of its scale and meat. 

Using animal skin has been a constant threat to wildlife in India. During the lockdown, since a lot of people took up trading, the use of animal skin such as that of Leopard increased too. In Jammu, the Wild Life Protection Department seized leopard skin and other body parts. Leopard is protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act.

Recently, in Odisha, more than 10 leopard skins were seized in three different districts. In the last year, more than 26 leopards have been poached. In one decade, 150 leopards have been poached and hunted across Odisha and their skin and bones have been traded for money in the international market. 

The Act does not cover obligations under CITES

Further, the government has recently approved the Char Dham project which is in conflict with the objective of the Act. The Act does not cover India’s obligation under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (‘CITES’). The CITES is an international treaty that regulates the trade of wildlife species so that their survival is not endangered. 

Moreover, the government on 11th June 2020, passed an advisory granting amnesty to individuals in possession of exotic life specifies protected under CITES. Exotic live species under CITES are those animals or plants that have moved from their original location to a new one. Since then, the trafficking of exotic live species has increased drastically. According to the Smuggling in India Report 2019-2020, there is a considerable increase in the smuggling of endangered and exotic fauna from different parts of the world to India. This is unfortunate. 

Freshwater fish species remain threatened

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (‘IUCL’) Red List, freshwater fish species are currently declining in India. But they are still not at the edge of extinction. The contributors to that are pollution, decreasing water levels, and the loss of river habitats since fisheries experts are not consulted before building dams in India. 

Great Indian Bustard remains endangered

Great Indian Bustards (‘GIB’) are dying in the different sanctuaries because of collisions with windmills and overhead cables. Recently, as reported by the Gujarat government in the last year no GIB has been spotted in the Kutch Bustard Sanctuary

Consistent decline in the population of migratory birds 

India’s bird population is sharply declining including that of migratory birds according to the State of Birds’ Report 2020 by 80%. The population of migratory birds is declining because of contractual farming and constant inference in the birds’ habitats. Migratory shorebirds, gulls, and terns have declined the most and this could be a long-term decline. Some resident water birds such as swamphens, coots, and storks have declined too. 

The Act does not address issues relating to climate change 

Further, the law is not updated to accommodate climate change-related concerns and rapidly rising sea levels in the Sundarbans region of India and Bangladesh.  

Wildlife development versus economic development 

The impact of the act has not been very consistent especially, in recent years where the focus of the government has tremendously shifted to aggressive development whereas, the idea was to follow sustainable development by fulfilling the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future generation. 

The recent policies of the government or the existing acts too reflect the same notion. For instance, the power of the collector to acquire the land under the Act is the same as that in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. 

The amended act named the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, allows the government to acquire land without the required social impact assessment, in urgent cases. 

Section 40 of the 2013 Act deals with a situation where the government acquires land for the purpose of national security or defence purposes, or any natural calamity or emergency. Even though this provision might not directly impact the working under the Wildlife Act, it does anyway dilute the power of the collector. 

The 2013 Act also allows for the government to acquire land of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.  

Further, the national wildlife board has cleared certain infrastructural projects such as a railway line through the Kawal Tiger Corridor in Telangana and the railway expansion through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park in Goa. 

The Supreme Court came down heavily on the government for giving the clearance for the railway expansion in Goa. The Court’s Central Empowered Committee constituted to study whether the clearance should be given or not has termed that the area has a fragile ecosystem. And the railway expansion will destroy it.

These wildlife clearances without proper environmental impact assessment are directly attributed to bureaucratic interference.  

Case laws 

  • State of Bihar v, Murad Ali Khan, Farukh Salauddin (1988) is a case that dealt with poaching and hunting of elephants for the smuggling of ivory tusks where the court observed that the “largest single factor in the depletion of the wealth of animal life in nature has been the civilised man operating directly through excessive commercial hunting”. 
  • In Balram Kumawat v. UOI (2003), the court re-emphasised that the act puts a complete ban on the trade of African elephant ivory and there cannot be a legitimate claim of violation of the right to freedom of trade under Article 14 and Article 19(1)(g) since the ban is a reasonable restriction under Article 19(2).
  • Sansar Chand v. State Of Rajasthan (2010) highlighted the detrimental effect legal trading and commerce of wildlife has caused to the environment and the same is not effectively curbed despite the prohibition under the Wildlife Act. These organised crimes are transnational because there is apparently no trade taking place within India but the same is smuggled outside India to meet the demands of other countries such as poaching of tigers for the Chinese medical industry. 
  • In Mahaveer Nath v. UOI (2019), the constitutional validity of Sections 9 and 11 was challenged on the ground that the restrictions mentioned under those Sections deprived the petitioner of his right to livelihood. 
  • The petitioner is a member of the Nath/Sapera community who is deprived to carry out the vocation of snake charming for his livelihood except on certain days where snakes are worshipped. This community was referred to as “barefoot conservative educators” to highlight their vital role in sensitizing people to reptiles. 
  • The petition was challenged on the ground that Section 9 has resulted in the prohibition of keeping of snakes and thus, it violates the fundamental right to trade under Article 19(1)(g) and Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court observed that Article 19(1)(g) is not an absolute right but a qualified right and reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the same for the general welfare of the public.


The Act is comprehensive and covers almost every aspect of protecting and conserving wildlife. The law’s exhaustiveness is reflected from the fact that it allows for the establishment of numerous committees and authorities that would exercise powers with specific goals such as the Tiger conservation authority. It also allows for the delegation of powers. 

But with such division of powers to different authorities at times create the issue of accountability since the powers are dispersed. Too many committees and authorities tend to dilute the objective of the act the more power gets divided the better chances of failure in monitoring it arises. 

The need is to have a strong regulatory framework at the centre that can create checks and balances within the sub-framework. Because just making different committees and assigning work to different authorities will not lead to wildlife conservation unless the implementation of the Act gets better. There is also a strong system needed for the protection of animals from hunting and poaching. 


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