ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Entrenching Brahminical Conservation

An Analysis of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act

Amendments to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 were made by the union government in December 2022. These amendments resulted in an increase in the animal species protected by the WPA, while also increasing the penalty manifold. Against this background, it is argued that the criminal–legal framework of wildlife conservation established by the WPA is rooted in Brahminical environmentalism. The WPA will further strengthen the web of criminalisation around forest-dependent livelihoods, predominantly affecting forest-dwelling communities.

During the winter session of Parliament, the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 (the bill) was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 8 December 2022. The bill, which is on the cusp of being notified, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 17 December 2021 with the very explicit aim of implementing the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). Since India is a signatory of CITES, various provisions were introduced by the union government to increase and strengthen protection for animals protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972.

Despite these intentions and in light of all the debates in both houses, it would suffice to say that this bill has its fair share of problems. The majority of concerns surrounding the bill, which have been raised by civil society activists as well as members of Parliament (MPs), mainly focus on what is the elephant conundrum concerning Section 43 of the bill and the issue of vermin animals, which continues to terrorise farmers to this date. Despite the concerns, most of the remaining changes have been received positively by many, especially the bills proposal to increase the penalty amount for general violation from `25,000 to `1,00,000 and the increase in the penalty for violation of provisions related to protected animals from `10,000 to `25,000. This increase in the penalty amount is viewed as a solid deterrent to ensure better wildlife protection, but this increase will have disastrous consequences for many.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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