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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Collective, multifaceted efforts must to curb wildlife crimes: CJ of Gauhati HC

Justice Singh said that fundamental duties as enshrined in the Constitution of India entrust all the citizens to protect the natural environment, forest, water bodies and wildlife.

GUWAHATI:

The Chief Justice (Acting) of Gauhati High Court, N Kotiswar Singh, on May 14, said that collective, multifaceted, and coordinated efforts by enforcement agencies are the need of the hour to tackle burgeoning cases of wildlife crimes.

“Prevention and mitigation of wildlife crimes that has acquired an alarming proportion all over the globe, require multifaceted and coordinated efforts among various stakeholders including forest personnel, police, border guards, paramilitary forces, army and other concerned agencies,” said Justice Singh, delivering the key-note address in a sensitization workshop on wildlife crimes at Bongaigaon.

Justice Singh said that fundamental duties as enshrined in the Constitution of India entrust all the citizens to protect the natural environment, forest, water bodies (lakes), and wildlife hence an SSB jawan posted on the frontier can’t overlook any attempt to smuggle out precious wildlife/wildlife parts from the country even though his/her principal duty is to guard the frontier. “The same is the case with the Army and other paramilitary forces that are expected to play a contributory role in helping forest and police personnel in preventing wildlife crimes,” he added.

He further spoke about fine points that must not be overlooked while apprehending a wildlife criminal or making seizures which are very important in cases related to wildlife crimes.

Addressing the workshop, Justice Soumitra Saikia of Gauhati High Court, while highlighting some of the key provisions in the Wildlife Protection (WLP) Act, 1972, pointed out that in conjunction of the WLP Act there are provisions of the CRPC which are equally applicable.

“Largely, I feel that stakeholders, NGOs, law enforcers, experts, and forest officials have done a tremendous job. In the judiciary, we can’t suggest/direct the government to frame a law. We are only required to decide in any given facts and circumstances of a case whether particular action by the authority or particular right claimed by the person/accused is capable of being granted under the provision of the Act,” said Justice Saikia.

The workshop was attended by judicial officers of Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts besides officials from Assam Police, Assam forest department, Sashatra Seema Bol (SSB).

Secretary-general of wildlife NGO, Aaranyak, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar flagged the unwarranted links between wildlife crimes, narco-terrorism and arms smuggling which has posed a grave threat to national security and the country’s biodiversity-rich Northeast. “There is a need for synergy among various enforcement agencies, forest, police, security forces and judiciary in combating the global menace called wildlife crimes,” he said.

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