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Wildlife Laws in India

G.Ravinder, M.Sc., LLB Sub-Divisional Forest Officer.


The Elephants Preservation Act,1879(Act No. 6 of 1879)

Wildlife Laws in India

The Wild Birds Protection Act No. X of

This Act mainly prohibited the possession or sale of any kind
of birds specified in it

The Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act No. VIII of 1912

The Indian Forest Act , 1927 Forest Officer

Wildlife Laws in India

The plantation watcher is a forest officer" within the

meaning of Section 2(2) of the Indian Forest Act.

(Abdul Aziz Vs. Union Territory of Tripura, (1963))

Offences under IFA

Related to Reserved Forests , Protected Forests

ForestProduce in Transit Altering boundary marks Non-assistance to Forest-officers and Police-officers


Why Special Law Related to Forests ?

Wildlife Laws in India

invaders of forest and wild life usually take care that their poaching techniques go unnoticed by others including wild animals. (Forest Range Officer v. Aboobacker, 1990 FLT 22 at 24(Ker)
Special Law Overrides the General Law !

under section 5 of CrPC Special Act overrides the General Act (Jethnal Vs. Heeralal , 1957 Raj LW 522 )

Wildlife Laws in India


An Act to provide for the protection of Wild

animals, birds and plants and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto with a view to ensuring the ecological and environmental secuirity of the country


Wildlife Laws in India

Wild life- includes any animal, aquatic or land

vegetation which forms part of any habitat. Wild Animal- any animal found wild in nature and specified in Schedule-I-II-III or IV.

Captive Animal- any animal which is specified in Schedule-I,II,III or IV, which is captured/ kept/bred in captivity. Protected Area- means a National Park, a sanctuary, a conservation reserve or a community reserve notified under sections 18, 35, 36A and 36C of the Act; Wildlife Vis a Vis Wild Animal under WLPA,1972

Wildlife Laws in India

Authorities Appointed/Constituted under WPA, 1972

Director/ Chief Wildlife Warden/ Wildlife Warden
Honorary Wildlife Wardens ( CEL case ,Guidelines) National Board for Wild Life (Statutory Body-2006)

Central Zoo Authority

2006 Amendment:

National Tiger Conservation Authority

Tiger and Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau

Appointment of Individual Authorities.

Wildlife Laws in India
Director/ Warden Chief Wildlife Warden/ Wildlife






such other officers and employees as may be necessary (Subordinate to the CWLW)

Director/ Chief Wildlife Warden

Wildlife Laws in India

appointment of Director of Wild Life Preservation under central government and CWLW under state govt. to perform his duties and exercise powers given under different provisions of the act.

Honble Supreme Court held that once an area has been declared as a sanctuary, entry into the area is restricted and regulated under Section 27 and 28 and subject to permission being granted by the Chief Wild Life Warden who has the powers to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries under section 33.
(Essar Oil Ltd. Vs. H.U. Samiti, AIR 2004 SC 1834; 2004 (2) SCC 392 )

Delegation of Powers

Wildlife Laws in India

Director/CWLW may, with the previous approval of the

Central/State Government, delegate all or any of his

powers and duties under this Act .except those under Cl.(a) of sub-section (1) of Sec.11
Subject to any general or special, direction given or condition imposed by the Director or the Chief Wild Life Warden. may exercise those powers in the same manner and to the same effect as if they had been conferred on that person directly by this Act and not by way of delegation.

Complaint filed after sanction is

Wildlife Laws in India


The Honble Patna High Court observed that complaint was filed after obtaining sanction from the Divisional Forest Officer who was authorized to file the complaint. It may be relevant to mention here that sec.5(2) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act,1972 also gives power to the authorities concerned to delegate his powers to any of his subordinate officer

(Jagdish Singh Vs. State of Bihar, 1985, Cr.L.J. 1314- 1316(pat.)


Honorary Wildlife Wardens

(The substitution of clause by 2002 Amendment under section 4 of the Act, now permits the state governments to appoint more than one Honorary Wildlife Wardens.)

Wildlife Laws in India

deem to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.
Power to inspect records of licences under section 47 (b) of the Act; Powers of entry, search, seizure, and detention under section 50 for prevention and detection of offences
Honble SC directed that the concerned state / Union Territory shall take the necessary steps to appoint Honorary Wild Life Wardens for all the areas within a period of two months. (Centre for

Environmental Law Vs. Union of India and Others, I.A No. 2 in 12 W.P. (C) No. 337 of 1995 dated 7.11.1997)

National Board for Wild Life

Wildlife Laws in India

Statutory body after the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002 ( Earlier IBWL) Even though SBWL were Statutory bodies.

Prime Minister is Chairperson and the Minister in-charge of Forests and Wild Life is Vice-Chairperson. Director WL Pres. Or ADG WL is Member Secy.

MPs, Secretaries, Directors of WII, ZSI, BSI, IVRI, NIO etc., Rep. (CWLW) of 10 states by rotation, 10 eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists, 5 persons of NGOs etc. are members.

Forest And Wildlife Laws in India

Functions of NBWL
to promote the conservation and development of wild life and forests framing policies and advising the Govt for conservation of WL, Forests and controlling poaching and illegal trade of wild life. Recommend for mgmt of PAs. Carrying out or causing to be carried out impact assessment of various projects and activities on wild life or its habitat

Standing Committee of NBWL

Wildlife Laws in India
performing such duties as may be delegated to the Committee by the National Board

Vice-Chairperson, the Member-Secretary, and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the Board. Powers conferred by
By Act-Destruction in Pas, Commercial/ Residential accommodation for tourism inside PAs, Impact Assessment By Honble Supreme Court- FCA cases in PAs

State Board for Wild Life

Wildlife Laws in India
CM as Chairperson ( earlier Forest Mins. Now VC.)

Seeks to make a parallel body to National Board for Wild Life at state level.
3 MLAs, 3 persons to represent NGOs organizations, ten eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists at least 2 representatives of the Scheduled Tribes.

Secy. and Rep of Research Org. like ZSI, BSI, WII etc.
Chief Wild Life Warden, who shall be the Mem-Secy.

Forest And Wildlife Laws in India

Advise state govt. on

(i) selection and management of areas be declared as protected areas.
(ii) policy of protection and conservation. (iii) In matters relating to change of any schedule for harmonizing the needs of the tribals and other dwellers of the forest with the protection and conservation of wild life.


Offences Under WPA.. Hunting (Sec 9)

Wildlife Laws in India

Killing or poisoning of any wild animal or captive animal and every attempt to do so. Capturing, coursing, snaring, trapping, driving or baiting any wild or captive animal and every attempt to do so. injuring or destroying or taking any part of the body of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs of such birds or reptiles, or disturbing the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles.

Hunting Permitted under sec.11

Wildlife Laws in India

(a) CWLW may permit for hunting of Sch-I * animal dangerous to human life * disabled or diseased beyond recovery
tranquilised or translocated. #animal shall be kept in captivity unless the CWLW is satisfied that such animal cannot be rehabilitated in the wild and the reasons for the same are recorded in writing.

#CWLW is satisfied that such animal cannot be captured,

(b) CWLW or AO may permit Sch II, III or IV for (1)(a) reason and also for property (including crop).
#animal or group of animals in a specified area

Wildlife Laws in India

Case Study Killing of elephant on the ground that the animal had become dangerous to human life
adverse entry in ACR by the Minister for negligence of CWLW

Tribunal found; tusker had sustained some bullet injuries and in gradual process succumbed to the injuries. Based on the Expert opinion tusker would have died in any case dangerous to the life of a person to approach a wild tusker.

(Rabindranath Mohanty Vs. Govt. of India F.L.T. 1990 P. 268, 20 Central Administrative Tribunal, Cuttack Bench.)

Prohibition of picking, uprooting, etc., of specified plants (Sec 17 A to H)

Wildlife Laws in India

Plants in Schedule VI The word and, in the phrase any forest land

and any area specified, by notification in section 17A should be read as or- (World Wide Fund for Nature Vs. Union of India in WPC No. 4719/93 , Delhi HC , 20.07.2005.)

Law of the Land !!!


Protected Areas

Wildlife Laws in India

Means Sanctuary or NP; Conservation Reserve/ Community Reserve.

Procedures under section 18 to 26

Declaration of Sanctuary (Intention & Appointment of collector under sec 18) Determination of rights Acquisition of Rights National Park Vs. WL Sanctuary Grazing rights (SC order dt. 14.2.2000) Rights inside WLS (Access through WLS) All rights to be extinguished in NP (sec 35(4))

Regulation of National Park and Sanctuary

Wildlife Laws in India

(i) Restriction on entry

# CWLW may permit to enter or reside in a sanctuary for to enter or reside in a sanctuary for study, tourism; scientific research, photography etc.

(ii) No Destruction No person shall destroy, exploit or remove any Wild Life including forest produce or destroy or damage or divert the habitat of any wild animal or divert, stop or enhance the flow of water into or outside WLS w/o permit of CWLW
SBWL in case of WLS and NBWL for N.P. that such activity is necessary for the improvement and better management of wild life

# with satisfaction of State Govt. after consultation with

Regulation contd.. (iii)Causing fire prohibited

Wildlife Laws in India

(iv) Ban on use of injurious substances (v) Prohibition of entry into sanctuary with weapon (vi) for immunisation of livestock within five km of WLS/N.P (vii) Registration of arms with CWLW in case of existing and prior approval in case of new licence within 10 KM. under Arms Act, 1959(54 of 1959 )


Control of sanctuaries and National Parks with CWLW

(sec 33)

Wildlife Laws in India

1. May construct such roads, bridges, buildings, fences or barrier gates

# no construction of commercial tourist lodges, hotels, zoos and safari parks shall be undertaken inside a sanctuary except with the prior approval of the National Board

2. Steps as will ensure the security of wild animals

3. Improvement of any habitat.

4. Regulate, control or prohibit, in keeping with the interests of wildlife, the grazing or movement of livestock
# In case of WLS only

Wildlife Laws in India

T.N. Godavarman Thirmulkpad V/s Union Of India

No removal of dead, diseased, dying or wind fallen trees, drift wood and grasses etc. from any national park or game sanctuaries or forest - 14.2.2000
Certain activities, which are carried out for the better

Case Law:

management of the protected areas are not barred by the order dated 14.02.2000-25-11-2005

(a) Habitat Improvement Activities (b) Fire protection measures (c) Management of wet grassland habitat (d) Communication and protection measures (e) Anti poaching initiatives


De-notification NP/WLS

(The Centre for Environmental Law (CEL), WWF Vs. Union of India and others WPC No. 337 of 1995, SC)

Wildlife Laws in India

1.Prior Approval of IBWL

before placing the proposal before the legislative assembly the concerned state government shall refer the proposal to the Indian Board for Wild Life... (order dated 22-8-1997) #2002 amendment in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the power to de-notify has been taken away from the legislative assembly and conferred on the National Board for Wild Life.

2. Prior Approval of Supreme Court


No de reservation of forest/Sanctuaries/National Parks without prior approval of Supreme Court (order dated
# Supreme Court has divested the Central government (in respect to forests) and the State Legislature (in respect to National Parks and Sanctuaries) of all powers of de reservation / de notification.

Central Zoo Authority mainly responsible for recognition / de recognition of Zoos monitoring of the management of zoos specifying the minimum standards and veterinary care of the animals kept in a zoo
#The MemberSecretary of Central Zoo Authority is empowered under section 55 to file a complaint against violation of the provision of the chapter IV-A.

Wildlife Laws in India

looking at the pathetic state in which some of the zoos are maintained, we hereby direct that no state government or union territory shall set up a new zoo without getting clearance from the Central Zoo Authority and orders from this Court Navin M. Raheja

vs Union of India and Ors, W.P.(C) No. 47 of 1998 (Supreme 28 Court) order dated 20.11.2000

Wild Animal, etc. to be Government property

Wildlife Laws in India

(Sec 39)
wild animal, other than vermin, which is hunted under Sec. 11 or sec.29 or sub-sec (6) of sec 35 or kept or bred in captivity or hunted in Contravention of the Act. animal article, trophy or uncured trophy or meat derived
ivory imported into India and an article made from such ivory vehicle, vessel, weapon, trap or tool that has been used for committing an offence and has been seized under the provision of this Act. 29

Seizure and confiscation [Sec. 52 IFA, Sec 50(1)(c) WPA]

Wildlife Laws in India

Power under WPA Vis-a Vis IFA (Sec.39)

so long as the competent Court does not find that the vehicle had been used for the purpose of the commission of the offence , the vehicle does not become the property of the state government (Bai Kuntha Bihari Mohapatra Vs. state of Orissa 2001 Cr. L.J. 4151 (Ori))

Encroaches upon the powers of the court ?

Confiscation is a quasi judicial process meant for the speedy disposal of the all tools etc. unlike the judicial process of prosecution which intends to punish the 30 offender (DFO Vs. Sudhakar Rao 1986 SC )

Trade or Commerce in Trophies, Animal

Wildlife Laws in India

Articles, etc. derived from Certain Animals Declarations (Sec 40)

(1) Declare captive animals, articles, trophies, skins,musk, rhino horn in respect of Sch-I & Sch- II (II)
(2)No person to acquire, sell, transfer, transport Sch animal/ prod. (permission of CWLW/ AO) (2A) except by inheritance elephant Doesnt apply to live

Regulation of transfer of animal etc.(Sec43) No transfer by sale in respect of captive animal/ article/trophy/uncured trophy with ownership certificate.

Contradiction with sec 40(2A) ??


Declaration is required under section 40 and that the

Wildlife Laws in India

Act of dealing in the trophies by the appellant without licence is punishable (Pyarelal, Appellant Vs. The State (Delhi Admn.) Criminal Appeal No. 622 of 1988, AIR 1995 Supreme Court 1159)
The accused is guilty of illegal possession, custody and

control of the animal articles unless and until he disproves the same (Sansar Chand Vs. State 1994 (28) DRJ 281; 1 (1994) AD 13)
Prohibition of dealing in trophies, animal articles under

section 49B applies to mammoth ivory also. ( M/S Ivory Traders & Manufacturers Association and others Vs. Union of India and Others. AIR 1997 )

Prevention and Detection of offences


Wildlife Laws in India

Search, Arrest, Detention CWLW/AO/FO/PO(sub.Insp.) -Sec 50(1)

Custody of wild animal /Article by ACF-50(3)


The forest officer can give only the captive animal or wild animals and not vehicle for custody (Ayyub Vs.
State of Rajasthan, 2003 CRI. L. J. 2954)

Detained person to be taken in Magistrate (intimation to CWLW/AO).



Officers apart from Police Officer are given specific powers for the purpose of prevention and detection of offence under act- (Moti Lal Vs. Central Bureau of

Investigation (CBI) and Others , Supreme Court , 2002 CRI. L.J. 2060). 33

Wildlife Laws in India
Who can Investigate under WPA ? ACF or AO officer under section 50(1).

Powers given to certain officer under sec. 50(1) for this purpose.. Though, officer of the rank, ACF and above are given special powers
search warrant, enforce attendance, record evidence by ACF -50(8). receive &

Any evidence recorded under clause (d) of sub-section (8) shall be admissible in any subsequent trial before a Magistrate provided that it has been taken in presence of the accused person-50(9). #Inserted by amendment Act 44 of 1991.

Case Laws w.r.t Investigation under WPA ..

Wildlife Laws in India

The Supreme Court held that S.50 of the Wild Life Act
is not complete Code and, therefore, CBI would also have jurisdiction to investigate the offences under the said Act. (Moti Lal Vs. CBI, SC, 2002 CRI. L.J. 2060)

Confessional statement before Forest Officer admissible in court under Evidence Act 1872 and embargo contained in Sections 25 and 30 is not applicable as Forest Officer is not police Officer. (Forest Range Officer Vs. Aboobacker, Kerla HC )


Whether there is conflict or dichotomy in provisions of sub-section 39(1) (d) and section 51 (2) of the Act ?
If the seizure of a property was enough to declare it as the property of the government, there was no necessity to provide under sub-section (2) of section 51 that on proof of commission of the offence, the properties including vehicle, vessel, or weapon used in the commission of offence would be forfeited to the state government. [Madhukar Rao Vs. State of M.P (2000) 1 Jab LJ 304]

When owner of the property or the offender himself is not available for prosecution !!!

A situation can be envisaged where the offence is proved to have been committed but the owner of the property or the offender himself is not available for prosecution. In that situation by virtue of clause (d) of section 39 of the Act the property would become the property of the state without any requirement of passing an order of forfeiture in a trial by the criminal court in accordance with subsection (2) of section 51 of the Act.

[Madhukar Rao Vs. State of M.P (2000) 1 Jab LJ 304]

Power to compound offences

Wildlife Laws in India

Director/AO, CWLW/AO (DCF & above) accept money by way of composition of offence (sec. 54) not to exceed Rs. 25000 for sec. 54(1) . minimum imprisonment u/s 51(1) not to be compounded.
District Forest Officer has been empowered to compound the offences under Section 54 (M.Muthuramalingam Vs. DFO,Dindigul, CRI.L.J, 420(Madras)
if the offence has been compounded by an enforcement agency under the provisions of the Act, without there being any trial either in the departmental proceedings or in the criminal proceedings the vehicle, rifles etc. cannot be forfeited and all the seized articles which are not the government property should be released.

(J.K. Johnson & others Vs. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Hyderabad, 2006 CRI. L.J.1480 )

Wildlife Laws in India

If the offence has been compounded without there being any trial either in the departmental proceedings or in the criminal proceedings the vehicle, rifles etc. cannot be forfeited:
The Hon'ble Andhra Pradesh High Court held that unless the case is tried and the accused are convicted by the criminal court, there is no possibility of confiscating the seized goods under section 39(1) (d) of the Act. There cannot be any automatic presumption to treat the seized goods as government property unless there is trial and conviction in the criminal proceedings or in the departmental proceedings conducted by the authorities. The only procedure contemplated under section 51(2) of the Act is that when any person is convicted of an offence against this Act, the court trying the offence may order for forfeiture of the vehicle, vessel, weapon, trap or tool that has been used in connection of the said offence to the state. Admittedly, there is no trial or conviction that has been made in the instant case. The respondents have liberally compounded the offence. Since the offence has been compounded without there being any trial either in the departmental proceedings or in the criminal proceedings, the said vehicle and rifles cannot be forfeited.

(J. K. Johnson & others Vs. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Hyderabad, 2006 CRI. L.J.1480).

Complaint of Offences under WPA..


Wildlife Laws in India

Director/AO, Mem. Secy CZA & NTCA, Dir. Of a TR. , CWLW/AO, Person who has given notice < 60 days Challan filed by a Station House Officer is not sufficient and a regular complaint should be filed as provided by Section 55 (Ashwini Kumar Bhardwaj Vs, State of Rajasthan,

2002 CRI. L.J. 179, (Raj.)

CBI (authorized officers of Delhi Special Police Establishment not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police) is entitled to file a criminal complaint against accused (Moti Lal Vs. CBI , SC, 2002 CRI. L.J. 2060)

Eviction of unauthorized occupant from NP/WLS

Compound offences & give reward


Penalties (Sec 51)

Offence related to Scheduled Animals / Hunting in PA

Wildlife Laws in India

/ Trade in Animal Art. etc.

-3 to 7 yrs /fine > 10T

Teasing , molesting etc. of any animal in a zoo

<= 6 Months/ fine >10 T

- <= 3 Yrs./ <= 25T

Contravention of other Provision

Conditions to apply while granting bail (Sec 51A)

The offence relating to Scheduled animals or hunting in Sanctuaries/ NP or alteration of park boundary still bailable offence ? (PP to be heard)

Eviction of unauthorized occupant from NP/WLS

Wildlife Laws in India

An ACF can
evict any person from a sanctuary or National Park.

remove any unauthorized structures, buildings, or constructions erected on any Government land within any sanctuary or National Park . Confiscation by an order of DCF


The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Laws in India
CHAPTER IVB National Tiger Conservation Authority (Section 38K to 38X) CHAPTER IVC Tiger and Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Section 38Y & 38Z) Penalties

The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Laws in India

National Tiger Conservation Authority(38L)

(Headed by Min of E & F)

Approve Tiger Action Plan / Future plans Assess aspects of Sustainable Ecology

Standards for Tourism

Approve / Coordinate Research Facilitate - Eco Development/Capacity

Ensure Ecologically sustainable Use of



The Wildlife (Protection) Ammendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Laws in India

Constitution of Steering Committee(38U) (State Level headed by C.M)

Co-ordination Monitoring

of Tiger ,Co-predators and prey animals within the Tiger range states

The Wildlife (Protection) Ammendment Act , 2006

Declaration of Tiger Reserve (38V)

Wildlife Laws in India
Sec. 18(2),27(2,3,4),30,32(b,c),33 Applicable

BY state govt. on recommendation of C.Govt Tiger Conservation Plan

Site Specific Ecologically Compatible Land Use Corridors Forestry opern of adjoining divn to be compatible Agriculture, Livelihood, development Rehabilitation on mutual consent No Alteration / De Notification of T.R


Critical Tiger habitat or Explanation (i) of sec 38(v)(4)



Wildlife Laws in India

Inviolate for Tiger Conservation. On the basis of scientific and objective criterion ??? (800-1000 Km)

in consultation with an Expert Committee.

Which Expert Committee? Resettlement Provided..

process of recognition and determination of rights is complete


Inviolate Areas/ Critical Wild Life Habitats under Tribal Act also- to exclude rights.

Wildlife Laws in India

Guidelines by Tribal Ministry. ( Act commenced from 31 dec.2007) Expert Committee Under WPA or FRA ??

Forest And Wildlife Laws in India

Critical Tiger habitat or Explanation (i) of sec 38(v)(4)

Inviolate for Tiger Conservation.



On the basis of scientific and objective criterion ??? (800-1000 Km)

in consultation with an Expert Committee


The Wildlife (Protection) Ammendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Laws in India

Tiger Conservation Foundation (38X)

State Level

Facilitate ecological ,socio-economic,cultural dev. Of T.R Promote Eco-Tourism Creating and Maintaining Assets Solicit tech., fin., social., legal, support

Mobilize/Augment fin. Resources Recycling

Support research, Env. Education & training

The Wildlife (Protection) Ammendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (38Y)

Wildlife Laws in India

Officers from Forest, Police, Customs Collect and collate intelligence

Headed by Dir Wildlife

Co-ordinations of actions by various org.

Implementation of obligations under conventions and protocols & Develop infrastructure for investigation Assist states in prosecution Advise GOI w.r.t Policy & law Powers under Sec. 5, 50,55 are delegated Creating and Maintaining Assets Solicit tech., fin., social., legal, suport Mobilise/Augment fin. Resources Recycling Support research, Env. Education & training

The Wildlife (Protection) Ammendment Act , 2006

Wildlife Laws in India

Penalties [51(1C)]
Offence related to hunting in T.R.
Altering boundaries of T.R. Imprisonment 3-7 yrs & fine 50T-2 Lacs. On Subsequent Conviction Not <than 7 Yrs.& fine 5 Lac.-50 Lac.

Same punishment for abetment.