EnvironmentPolicy MattersWildlife


Green Minute News:

Concerned citizens rushing to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) does not serve the purpose of wildlife conservation, says Praveen Bhargav, noted conservationist and founder, Wildlife First.

Speaking to Green Minute in the aftermath of release of his second book “Wildlife Law for Conservation” the author said laws pertaining to wildlife, its conservation, tree preservation, does not come under the purview of NGT. Therefore, it is meaningless for citizens or activists to approach the green tribunal to file their cases. All laws pertaining to wildlife, its protection, tree preservation comes under the purview of High Courts and not NGT.

The noted expert on wildlife laws has decoded India’s Wildlife Protection Act and its recent amendment in this book which makes it easier for people to understand and those who are interested in conservation and wildlife protection in the country. The book carries in detail the Wildlife Protection Act, its implementation citing case studies.

Further, Bhargav’s second book is the ultimate guide to:

  • Site-based Conservation,
  • PILs (Public Interest Litigation),
  • RTIs (Right to Information) …with useful templates.

From R to L: Justice K. Somashekar, Judge, High Court of Karnataka, Justice Aravind Kumar, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Justice N.V. Anjaria, Chief Justice – High Court of Karnataka & Praveen Bhargav, Author

Conservation of wildlife in India has been rapidly evolving over the past few decades. In the 1970s, some naturalists and ex-shikaris reached out to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who piloted laws and policies that helped recover wildlife from the brink. 

Over time, the context and approach of conservation changed due to increasing pressure of economic development and the delivery of social justice. During the mid-90s, with coalition governments at the Centre, the path-breaking interventions of the Supreme Court in the omnibus Godavarman ‘forest case’ has contributed significantly to protect wildlife habitats.

Since 2014, a strong Government at the Centre has focused on facilitating economic development, together with the unbridled grant of forest land to lakhs of forest dwellers. Therefore, fragmentation of wildlife habitats has increased dramatically.

Unfortunately, Statutory Committees like the National Board for Wildlife and the Forest Advisory Committee are now functioning as clearing houses for development projects.

In the background of continuing unsustainable developments in the country, the book “Wildlife Law for Conservation” seeks to provide a ‘solutions-based template’ for pragmatic conservation interventions by concerned citizens.

“The Constitutional provisions empowering conservationists, the entire gamut of laws and the methodology of applying them for site-based conservation, have been presented in detail. Fundamental questions like setting the right conservation goals, navigating the Governance maze, how and when to approach courts, and how to use the RTI Act, have been explained in detail, with case studies.”

The book is based on nearly 30 years of intensive site-based conservation and advocacy efforts of Wildlife First.

 It also deals with important aspects, of interest and importance to conservationists like:

  • Notification of Protected Areas,
  • Constitution of Statutory committees,
  • Protection of habitats from the threat of development projects,
  • Specific constitutional and legal provisions and
  • Strategies for defending wildlife habitats from various threats.

The necessity of constructively working with the state Forest Departments and the governments on issues like voluntary resettlement, and addressing gaps in protection and management of National Parks and Sanctuaries, have been covered in the book to help conservationists in crafting appropriate approaches.

Author Praveen Bhargav hopes that this book will break through the cycle of despondency and motivate readers to believe that conservation is not a losing battle.