The Wildlife (Protection) Act, the landmark law from 1972 that shields the diversity of India’s endangered animals mainly in 4% of its land area designated as protected, struggles to be effective and conviction rates are low.
What has happened?
The stiff sentence of five years in jail awarded to actor Salman Khan for hunting blackbuck in Rajasthan’s Kankani village in 1998 should send out the message that stardom does not confer impunity
Sending a powerful message
- If the verdict of the Jodhpur court in the blackbuck case survives the appeals process, it would send out the powerful message that the judicial system feels no constraint in exerting the full weight of the law to protect threatened wildlife
- Feeling of empowerment to wildlife officials: Equally, it should bring a feeling of empowerment to forest department personnel, and help them resist the intimidation that they routinely face from influential sections in the discharge of their duties.
The court makes the important observation that personalities who are capable of influencing the behaviour of others must naturally be conscious of what they do
It is to be hoped that this will convince the high and mighty that bloodsports are grotesquely incongruous in the present day when environmental concerns rule supreme and engaging in them invites deterrent action