Ritwik Dutta, known as the green lawyer of India, said here on Sunday that the Indian judiciary was treating forest offences and cases related to the environment seriously.
He was addressing a two-day seminar on Wildlife Act and the Wildlife Forensic Act, its strengthening and implementation, held in Kulagi nature camp in Joida. “I alone have fought 480 different cases on behalf of the environmentalists in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mr. Dutta said that the first India Green Judicial Board was inaugurated in Pune recently. Forest and environment conservation would be considered in the coming days, he said.
Cases relating to the environment are on the rise and hence the Union Government is planning on opening six divisional offices of Forest and Environment Ministry in different parts of India, he said.
Sameer Sinha, Conservator of Forest and Chief of Traffic India organisation, who spoke on smuggling of wild animals, said that only 1,800 tigers and 10,000 leopards were left in India.
The Forest Department and environmental groups had taken the protection of these endangered animals seriously. Despite this, poaching and smuggling of these animals were on the rise, he said. In 1925, a total of 80,000 tigers, 1.5 lakh cheetahs, and 2 lakh foxes were killed in India. The British Government would give a prize of Rs. 150 for killing each of these animals.
From 1950 to 1970, hunting continued unabated.
In 1971, hunting was banned in India. In 1972, the Wildlife Protection Act and in 1973 the Project Tiger were implemented. Despite this, poaching and smuggling of animal parts worth several thousands of crores of rupees was still going on in India, he said.
Last year, the Forest Department had seized 23,000 kg of ivory.
In the last 20 years, 1.24 lakh kg of ivory was seized. In 2011, 2,500 elephants were killed by poachers for ivory.
Traffic India had solved many smuggling cases related to wild life, Mr. Sinha said. B.K. Singh, Chief Conservator of Forest, Karnataka, said that this year 12 elephants were killed by electrocution and 17 persons were killed by elephant attacks