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HC directs amendments in Wildlife Protection Act

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 13 - The Gauhati High Court has directed the State Government to make amendments in the existing Wildlife Protection Act which, if amended, would enable the police to file chargesheet like in other penal cases.

The Court, while hearing a case of alleged wildlife crime, directed the State Government to amend the Wildlife Protection Act, 1971 in regard to Section 55 by empowering police officials to file the chargesheet after investigating the case.

Advocate Bijon Mahajan was the amicus curie in the case in question (Yaksum versus the State of Assam) while K Munir represented the State of Assam.

Under Section 55 of the Act, although police could make the investigation and seizure in connection with wildlife crimes, it was not empowered to file the chargesheet.

Only some designated Forest officials could be entrusted with the responsibility as per the Act.

Till date, poachers have been enjoying immunity because of the lacunae in the Act and as such if the direction given by the High Court is implemented by making necessary amendments in the Act, poaching of rhino would come down drastically, believe wildlife activists.

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