Government of India enacted a comprehensive legislation "Wild
Life (Protection) Act, 1972" with the objective of
effectively controlling poaching and illegal trade in wildlife
and its derivatives. This has been amended recently (January,
2003) and punishment and penalty for offences under the Act
have been made more stringent.
Offences pertaining to hunting of endangered species and altering
of boundaries of protected areas
offences relating to wild animals (or their parts and products)
included in schedule-I or part II of Schedule- II and those
relating to hunting or altering the boundaries of a sanctuary
or national park the punishment and penalty have been enhanced,
the minimum imprisonment prescribed is three years which may
extend to seven years, with a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000/-.
For a subsequent offence of this nature, the term of imprisonment
shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years
with a minimum fine of Rs. 25,000. Also a new section (51 -
A) has been inserted in the Act, making certain conditions applicable
while granting bail:
'When any person accused of the commission of any offence relating
to Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II or offences relating
to hunting inside the boundaries of National Park or Wildlife
Sanctuary or altering the boundaries of such parks and sanctuaries,
is arrested under the provisions of the Act, then not withstanding
anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,
no such person who had been previously convicted of an offence
under this Act shall be released on bail unless -
(a) The Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity of opposing
the release on bail; and
(b) Where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application,
the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds
that he is not guilty of such offences and that he is not
likely to commit any offence while on bail".
In order to improve the intelligence gathering in wildlife crime,
the existing provision for rewarding the informers has been
increased from 20% of the fine and composition money respectively
to 50% in each case. In addition to this, a reward upto Rs.
10,000/- is also proposed to be given to the informants and
others who provide assistance in detection of crime and apprehension
of the offender.
At present, persons having ownership certificate in respect
of Schedule I and Part II animals, can sell or gift such articles.
This has been amended with a view to curb illegal trade, and
thus no person can now acquire Schedule I or Part II of Schedule
II animals, articles or trophies except by way of inheritance
(except live elephants).
Stringent measures have also been proposed to forfeit the properties
of hardcore criminals who have already been convicted in the
past for heinous wildlife crimes. These provisions are similar
to the provisions of 'Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
Act, 1985'. Provisions have also been made empowering officials
to evict encroachments from Protected Areas.
not pertaining to hunting of endangered species
related to trade and commerce in trophies, animals articles
etc. derived from certain animals (except chapter V A and section
38J) attracts a term of imprisonment upto three years and/or
a fine upto Rs. 25,000/-.