Security forces personnel cannot ignore wildlife crime while on security job: judge

Police, border guards, paramilitary forces and Army require coordinated efforts with other stakeholders to check such crime, says Gauhati High Court’s acting Chief Justice

May 16, 2022 11:12 am | Updated 11:12 am IST - GUWAHATI

Security forces personnel posted on the frontier cannot overlook any attempt to smuggle out precious wildlife or wildlife parts from the country, says Gauhati High Court’s acting Chief Justice. File

Security forces personnel posted on the frontier cannot overlook any attempt to smuggle out precious wildlife or wildlife parts from the country, says Gauhati High Court’s acting Chief Justice. File | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

Security forces personnel cannot ignore wildlife crime even though their principal duty is to ensure security of the area they are deployed in, the officiating Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court has said.

A Sashastra Seema Bal jawan posted on the frontier cannot overlook any attempt to smuggle out precious wildlife or wildlife parts from the country even though his or her principal duty is to guard the frontier.

“Same is the case with the Army and other paramilitary forces who are expected to play a contributory role in helping forest and police personnel in preventing wildlife crimes,” Justice N. Kotiswar Singh said.

This was because the fundamental duties as enshrined in the Constitution of India required all the citizens to protect the natural environment, forest, water bodies and wildlife, he added.

“Prevention and mitigation of wildlife crimes that have acquired an alarming proportional all over the globe, require multifaceted and coordinated efforts among various stakeholders including forest personnel, police, border guards, paramilitary forces, Army and other agencies concerned,” he said at a sensitisation workshop on wildlife crimes in western Assam’s Bongaigaon last week.

The workshop was organised by the Assam State Legal Services Authority and Aaranyak, an Assam-based biodiversity conservation organisation.

Chief Justice Singh underlined some fine points that “must not be overlooked while apprehending a wildlife criminal or making seizures” important in cases related to wildlife crimes.

Addressing the workshop, Justice Soumitra Saikia of the Gauhati High Court highlighted some key provisions in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as well as the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure that are equally applicable.

“In judiciary, we can’t suggest or 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 or accused is capable of being granted under the provision of the (relevant) Act,” he said.

Aaranyak’s secretary-general Bibhab Kumar Talukdar flagged the unwarranted links among wildlife crimes, narco-terrorism and arms smuggling that have posed a grave threat to the national security and the country’s biodiversity-rich northeast.

“The need of the hour is for synergy among various enforcement agencies, forest, police, security forces and judiciary in combating the global menace called wildlife crimes,” he said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.