It is a known fact that the poaching of wildlife for profit or pleasure has decimated populations of endangered species, particularly those at the risk of extinction.
Despite technological advancements to detect and prevent poaching and trafficking, reports keep on pouring now and then that the disturbing trend continues.
In a landmark judgment, J&K and Ladakh High Court has said that trading in endangered animals or articles made from their skin, bones or any other part was similar to dealing in noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs.
The court precisely underlined that what was destructive of the environment, forests and wild life was contrary to the directive principles of State policy.
There is complete ban imposed on such trade due to enactment of J&K Wild Life Protection Act, 1978.
It is a settled position of law that the trade which is pernicious can be totally banned without attracting Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
The court pointed out that trading in animals close to being wiped out of existence and articles made from their bones, skins or other parts of their bodies, is a situation akin to dealing in any other noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs. The Parliament is, therefore, well within its powers to impose a ban by way of appropriate legislation on trading in wild life and their derivatives in furtherance of Article 48A like it can prohibit trade in intoxicating drugs and liquors in compliance with the mandate of Article 47.
While the law is there, there is a need to enhance measures to track, prove, and prevent wildlife crimes. There is also a need for evaluative research on interventions that have the potential to allow illicit trade and in other words keep wildlife under danger.
Without drastic action to conserve habitats, the rate of species extinction — already tens to hundreds of times higher than the average across the past ten million years across the globe— will only increase. There is a need for proactive environmental policies, the sustainable production of food and other resources and a concerted effort to protect wild animals.