Par panel wants more time to study bill on wildlife laws

 Passage of a bill, introduced by the previous UPA government, which seeks to strengthen wildlife laws by conferring arresting power to wildlife authorities is set to be delayed.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 18:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Passage of a bill, introduced by the previous UPA government, which seeks to strengthen wildlife laws by conferring arresting power to wildlife authorities is set to be delayed.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests had recently sought more time from the Rajya Sabha Chairman to examine The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2013.

The Chairman has now given the committee time till December 15 to table its report, a Rajya Sabha communication said. The Bill was referred to the committee on August 7, 2013.

Earlier, the deadline for the Committee to submit its report was extended till June 2.

With the formation of a new committee after the 16th Lok Sabha came into being in May, new panel chairman Ashwani Kumar had approached the Rajya Sabha Chairman to grant more time to study the bill.

In August, 2013, the bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha for stricter enforcement of laws to protect wildlife including imprisonment up to seven years and conferring of arrest powers on a wildlife authority.

The bill, introduced by the then Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, seeks to further amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

It provides the legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals, management of their habitat and also for the regulation and control of trade in the products derived from them.

The bill seeks to confer power of entry, search, arrest and detention on any officer authorised by the management authority or any customs officer not below the rank of an inspector or any officer of the coast guard not below the rank of an assistant commandant.

The bill seeks to deal with the serious of wildlife crime such as the offence related to any animal specified in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II or the meat of such animal or animal article, trophy, or uncured trophy derived from such animal.

If a crime of this sort is committed, the bill seeks to punish the culprits with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years, but may extend to seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh but may extend to Rs 25 lakh.