Not a so­lu­tion

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

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.

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