The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal forest department officials to ensure strict adherence to laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals and birds against illegal wildlife trade in the state.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee had earlier taken suo motu cognizance of the illegal smuggling and trading of endangered species of birds in the state on the basis of a newspaper report.
Advocate General Kishore Datta argued that West Bengal has become a major transit point for illicit wildlife trade, due to the state’s location and the prevailing socio-economic scenario of the region. The control of the illegal trade poses a major challenge to the forest department of the state, he added.
The AG further stated that the Dooars and the Terai region of North Bengal as well as Kolkata are used as a transit route by miscreants involved in illicit wildlife trade.
The Court noted, “The geographical territories or terrain from which the migratory birds may move would not at all be relevant to provide protective umbrella of the Constitution of India and the Statutes falling under it for the succour to and management of the fauna which fly in of their own.”
The Court directed the officials to make sure that laws governing prevention of cruelty to animals and birds are abided by and before the next date of hearing a separate action-taken report with regard to the activities carried forward on the basis of this order be placed on record by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the DGP, West Bengal Police.