Supreme Court orders government to effectively enforce wildlife lawsThe apex court asks the authorities to strictly control private possession of illegal wildlife parts.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order against the government for failing to effectively enforce wildlife laws in controlling private possession of illegal wildlife parts.
Hearing on a case filed by wildlife conservationist Kumar Paudel, a bench of Justices Sapana Malla Pradhan and Til Prasad Shrestha issued a writ of mandamus making the Office of the Prime Minister, the Home Ministry, Forest and Environment Ministry and other relevant departments as defendants for failing to implement the law in a full, fair and consistent manner.
Nepal’s stringent laws prohibit the illegal harvest and use of protected wildlife, with fines of up to Rs1 million and prison sentences of up to 15 years if found guilty.
In his petition, Paudel accused the government of disproportionately penalising the marginalised groups while turning a blind eye to the same crimes when committed by an elite.
In the petition, filed five years ago, the wildlife conservationist demanded the government launch a thorough investigation into wildlife parts in private possession to ascertain its legality, prosecute and seize illegal wildlife possessions, maintain records of the number of wildlife parts legally possessed and make way for immediate action against the guilty as not to propel them to hide, destroy or sell the evidence.
Ruling in favour of the plaintiffs, the apex court further ordered the concerned authorities to take strict actions to curb illegal wildlife possession.
“This court order is an important step in bringing thousands of illegal wildlife parts under enforcement, regardless of who owns them,” said Paudel.
The court also suggested using effective mediums to raise awareness among the public on the issue and seizing wildlife parts to be preserved for educational and research purposes to benefit conservation instead of destroying them to achieve the goal.