Not a solution
WHO: Shekhar Kumar Niraj Head, Traffic India WHAT: The Centre has proposed stricter laws to stop wildlife trade. One of the proposals is to increase the penalties to ` 50 lakh for different violations under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and making provisions for imposing a separate penalty for offences related to hunting in tiger reserves.
WHY: This is not a solution to the problem of wildlife crime. This is because while the quantum of punishment increases with such measures, there is no corresponding rise in the conviction rate. There are reasons for this. One, the judiciary still remains insensitive as it does not consider wildlife crime award serious punishment in such cases. Second, the legal procedure is very complicated. The prosecution staff remains short of resources and cases are not effectively pursued. Hence, the punishment fails to act as a deterrent to would-be offenders. The solution lies in simplifying the legal process, providing training to legal staff and sensitising the members of the judiciary.