Guwahati, May 14 (PTI) Gauhati High Court Chief Justice (Acting) N Kotiswar Singh on Saturday called for widespread coordination among multiple agencies to prevent wildlife crimes that have posed a threat to national security.
Delivering the key-note address at a sensitization workshop on ‘wildlife crimes: challenges, solutions and role of stakeholders’ at Bongaigaon, Justice Singh said that wildlife crimes have become alarming all over the globe and its prevention and mitigation require multifaceted and coordinated efforts among various stakeholders, including forest personnel, police, border guards, paramilitary forces, army and other concerned agencies.
He said the fundamental duties as enshrined in the Indian Constitution entrust all the citizens to protect the natural environment, forest, water bodies (lakes) and wildlife.
”Therefore, an SSB jawan posted at the frontier cannot overlook any attempt to smuggle out precious wildlife/wildlife parts from the country even though his/her principal duty is to guard the frontier. Same is the case with the Army, other paramilitary forces who are expected to play a contributory role in helping forest and police personnel in preventing wildlife crimes”, he said.
Gauhati High Court Judge Justice Soumitra Saikia, while highlighting some of the key provisions in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, pointed out that in conjunction with this Act, there are provisions of the CRPC which are equally applicable.
Stakeholders, NGOs, law enforcers, experts and forest officials have largely done a tremendous job and the judiciary, cannot suggest or direct the government to frame a law, he said.
”We are only required to decide in any case whether a particular action by the authority or a particular right claimed by the person/accused is capable of being granted under the provision of the Act”, Saikia said.
Secretary-General of Aaranyak, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar pointed out the link among wildlife crimes, narco-terrorism and arms smuggling which has posed grave threat to national security.
The country’s biodiversity-rich frontier Northeast region is precariously poised under such adverse circumstances and, therefore, there was a need for synergy among various enforcement agencies, forest, police, security forces and judiciary in combating the global menace of wildlife crimes, he added.
The workshop was organised jointly by Assam State Legal Services Authority (ASLSA) and biodiversity conservation organization Aaranyak and attended by judicial officers of Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts besides officials from Assam Police, forest department and SSB.