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WILD LIFE (PROTECTION) ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 53 of 1972


  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 3A. Protection of Specified Plants
  • Chapter 4. Protected Areas
  • Chapter 4A. Central Zoo Authority and Recognition of Zoos
  • Chapter IVB. National Tiger Conservation Authority
  • Chapter IV C. Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau
  • Chapter V
  • Chapter 5A. Prohibition of Trade Or Commerce in Trophies, Animal Articles, Etc. Derived from Certain Animals
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 6A. Forfeiture of Property Derived from Illegal Hunting and Trade
  • Chapter 7
  • Schedules
  • Amending Acts
  • Act nº 53 of 1972

Preamble

THE WILD LIFE (PROTECTION) ACT, 1972

[Act, No. 53 of 1972]

[9th September, 1972]

PREAMBLE

1[An Act to provide for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto with a view to ensuring the ecological and environmental security of the country.]

2[***]

1. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 2, for long title (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

2. Preamble omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 3 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).


Chapter 1

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

1[(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.]

(3) It shall come into force in a State or Union Territory to which it extends,2[***] on such date as the Central Government may, by notification, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act or for different States or Union territories.

1. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 4, for sub-section (2) (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

2. The words "or may become extended in future," omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 4 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).


Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

1[(1) "animal" includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, other chordates and invertebrates and also includes their young and eggs;]

(2) "animal article" means an article made from any captive animal or wild animal, other than vermin, and includes an article or object in which the whole or any part of such animal2[has been used, and ivory imported into India and an article made therefrom];

3[***]

4[(4) "Board" means a State Board for Wild Life constituted under sub­section (1) of section 6;]

(5) "captive animal" means any animal, specified in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV, which is captured or kept or bred in captivity;

5[***]

(7) "Chief Wild Life Warden" means the person appointed as such under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 4;

6[(7A) "circus" means an establishment, whether stationary or mobile, where animals are kept or used wholly or mainly for the purpose of performing tricks or manoeuvres;]

7[***]

8[(9) "Collector" means the chief officer-in-charge of the revenue administration of a district or any other officer not below the rank of a Deputy Collector as may be appointed by the State Government under section 18B in this behalf;]

(10) "commencement of this Act", in relation to-

(a) a State, means commencement of this Act in that State,

(b) any provision of this Act, means the commencement of that provision in the concerned State;

9[(11) "dealer" in relation to any captive animal, animal article, trophy, uncured trophy, meat or specified plant, means a person, who carries on the business of buying or selling any such animal or article, and includes a person who undertakes business in any single transaction;]

(12) "Director" means the person appointed as Director of Wild Life Preservation under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 3;

10[(12A) "Forest officer" means the Forest officer appointed under clause (2) of section 2 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (16 of 1927) or under any other Act for the time being in force in a State;]

11(12B) "forest produce" shall have the same meaning as in sub-clause (b) of clause (4) of section 2 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (16 of 1927);]

12[***]

(14) "Government property" means any property referred to in section 39;6[or section 17H;]

(15) "habitat" includes land, water or vegetation which is the natural home of any wild animal;

(16) "hunting", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, includes,-

13[(a) killing or poisoning of any wild animal or captive animal and every attempt to do so;

(b) capturing, coursing, snaring, trapping, driving or baiting any wild or captive animal and every attempt to do so;]

(c) injuring or destroying or taking any part of the body of any such animal or, in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs of such birds or reptiles or disturbing the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles;

(17) "land" includes canals, creeks and other water channels, reservoirs, rivers, streams and lakes, whether artificial or natural,14[marshes and wetlands and also includes boulders and rocks];

(18) "licence" means a licence granted under this Act;

15[(18A) "livestock" means farm animals and includes buffaloes, bulls, bullocks, camels, cows, donkeys, goats, sheep, horses, mules, yaks, pigs, ducks, geese, poultry and their young but does not include any animal specified in Schedules I to V;]

16[(19) "manufacturer" means a person who manufactures articles from any animal or plant specified in Schedules I to V and VI, as the case may be;

(20) "meat" includes blood, bones, sinew, eggs, shell or carapace, fat and flesh with or without skin, whether raw or cooked, of any wild animal or captive animal, other than a vermin;

(20A) "National Board" means the National Board for Wild Life constituted under section 5A;]

(21) "National Park" means an area declared, whether under section 35 or section 38, or deemed, under sub-section (3) of section 66, to be declared, as a National Park;

(22) "notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette;

(23) "permit" means a permit granted under this Act or any rule made thereunder;

(24) "person" includes a firm;

17[(24A) "protected area means a National Park, a sanctuary, a conservation reserve or a community reserve notified under sections 18, 35, 36A and 36C of the Act;]

(25) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

18[(25A) "recognised zoo" means a zoo recognised under section 38H;]

19[(25B) "reserve forest" means the forest declared to be reserved by the State Government under section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (16 of 1927), or declared as such under any other State Act;

20[(26) "sanctuary" means an area declared as a sanctuary by notification under the provisions of Chapter IV of this Act and shall also include a deemed sanctuary under sub-section (4) of section 66;]

21[(27) "specified plant" means any plant specified in Schedule VI;]

22[***]

(29) "State Government", in relation to a Union territory, means the Administrator of that Union territory appointed by the President under article 239 of the Constitution;

23[(30) "taxidermy", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means the curing, preparation or preservation or mounting of trophies;]

24[(30A) "territorial waters" shall have the same meaning as in section 3 of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and other Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (80 of 1976);]

(31) "trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive animal or wild animal, other than vermin, which has been kept or preserved by any means, whether artificial or natural, and includes-

(a) rugs, skins and specimens of such animal mounted in whole or in part through a process of taxidermy, and

25[(b) antler, bone, carapace, shell, horn, rhinoceros horn, hair, feather, nail, tooth, tusk, musk, eggs, nests and honeycomb;]

(32) "uncured trophy" means the whole orany part of any captive animal or wild animal, other than vermin, which has not undergone a process of taxidermy, and includes a26[freshly killed wild animal, ambergris, musk and other animal products];

(33) "vehicle" means any conveyance used for movement on land, water or air and includes buffalo, bull, bullock, camel, donkey, elephant, horse and mule;

(34) "vermin" means any wild animal specified in Schedule V;

(35) "weapon" includes ammunition, bows and arrows, explosives, firearms, hooks, knives, nets, poison, snares and traps and any instrument or apparatus capable of anaesthetizing, decoying, destroying, injuring or killing an animal;

27[(36) "wild animal" means any animal specified in Schedules I to IV and found wild in nature;]

28[(37) "wild life" includes any animal, aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat;]

(38) "Wild Life Warden" means the person appointed as such under clause (b) of sub­section (1) of section 4;

18[(39) "zoo" means an establishment, whether stationary or mobile, where captive animals are kept for exhibition to the public29[and includes a circus and rescue centres but does not include an establishment].]

1. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (1) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

2. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 for "has been used" (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

3. Clause (3) omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991)

4. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (4) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

5. Clause (6) omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991)

6. Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

7. Clause (8) omitted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

8. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (9) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

9. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (11) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

10. Clause (12A) Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991) and Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

11. Inserted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003).

12. Sub-section (13) omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

13. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for sub-clause (a) and (b) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

14. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5, for "and also includes boulders and rocks" (w.e.f. 2-10-1991)

15. Clause (18A) Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991) and Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

16. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (19) and (20) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

17. Inserted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003).

18. Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

19. Clause (25B) Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991) and Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

20. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (26) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

21. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5, for clause (27) (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

22. Clause (28) omitted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

23. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (30) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

24. Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

25. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for sub-clause (b) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

26. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 5, for "freshly killed wild animal" (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

27. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (36) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003). (See Annexe).

28. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for clause (37) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003). (See Annexe).

29. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 3, for "but does not include a circus and an establishment" (w.e.f. 1-4-2003).


Chapter 2

Section 3. Appointment of Director and other officers

(1) The Central Government may, for the purposes of this Act, appoint,-

(a) A Director of Wild Life Preservation;

1[***]

(c) such other officers and employees as may be necessary.

(2) In the performance of his duties and exercise of his powers by or under this Act, the Director shall be subject to such general or special directions, as the Central Government may, from time to time, give.

2[(3) The officers and other employees appointed under this section shall be required to assist the Director.]

1. Clause (b) omitted by Act 16 of 2003, section 4 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (see Annexe).

2. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 4, for sub-section (3) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (see Annexe).


Section 4. Appointment of Life Warden and other officers

(1) The State Government may, for the purposes of this Act, appoint,-

(a) a Chief Wild Life Warden;

(b) Wild Life Wardens;1[***]

2[(bb) Honorary Wild Life Wardens;]

(c) such other officers and employees as may be necessary.

(2) In the performance of his duties and exercise of his powers by or under this Act, the Chief Wild Life Warden shall be subject to such general or special directions, as the State Government may, from time to time, give.

(3)3[The Wild Life Warden, the Honorary Wild Life Warden] and other officers and employees appointed under this section shall be subordinate to the Chief Wild Life Warden.

1. The word "and" omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 6 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

2. Clause (bb) Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 6 and substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 5 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (see Annexe).

3. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 6 for "The Wild Life Warden" (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).


Section 5. Power to delegate

(1) The Director may, with the previous approval of the Central Government, by order in writing, delegate all or any of his powers and duties under this Act to any officer subordinate to him subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the order.

(2) The Chief Wild Life Warden may, with the previous approval of the State Government by order in writing, delegate all or any of his powers and duties under this Act, except those under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 11, to any officer subordinate to him subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the order.

(3) Subject to any general or special direction given or condition imposed by the Director or the Chief Wild Life Warden, any person, authorized by the Director or the Chief Wild Life Warden to exercise any powers, may exercise those powers in the same manner and to the same effect as if they had conferred on that person directly by this Act and not by way of delegation.

Section 5A. Constitution of the National Board for Wild Life

1[5A. Constitution of the National Board for Wild Life

(1) The Central Government shall, within three months from the date of commencement of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002, constitute the National Board for Wild Life2consisting of the following members, namely:-

(a) the Prime Minister as Chairperson;

(b) the Minister in-charge of Forests and Wild Life as Vice-Chairperson;

(c) three members of Parliament of whom two shall be from the House of the People and one from the Council of States;

(d) Member, Planning Commission in-charge of Forests and Wild Life;

(e) five persons to represent non-governmental organizations to be nominated by the Central Government;

(f) ten persons to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists;

(g) the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Ministry or Department of the Central Government dealing with Forests and Wild Life;

(h) the Chief of the Army Staff;

(i) the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Ministry of Defence;

(j) the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting;

(k) the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance;

(l) the Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Tribal Welfare;

(m) the Director-General of Forests in the Ministry or Department of the Central Government dealing with Forests and Wild Life;

(n) the Director-General of Tourism, Government of India;

(o) the Director-General, Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun;

(p) the Director, Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun;

(q) the Director, Zoological Survey of India;

(r) the Director, Botanical Survey of India;

(s) the Director, Indian Veterinary Research Institute;

(t) the Member-Secretary, Central Zoo Authority;

(u) the Director, National Institute of Oceanography;

(v) one representative each from ten States and Union territories by rotation, to be nominated by the Central Government;

(w) the Director of Wild Life Preservation who shall be the Member-Secretary of the National Board.

(2) The term of office of the members other than those who are members ex officio, the manner of filling vacancies referred to in clauses (e), (f) and (v) of sub-section (1), and the procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions by the members of the National Board shall be such, as may be prescribed.

(3) The members (except members ex officio) shall be entitled to receive such allowances in respect of expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as may be prescribed.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the office of a member of the National Board shall not be deemed to be an office of profit.]

1. Inserted by Act 16 of 2003, section 6.

2. National Board for Wild Life has been constituted by the Central Government with effect from 22-9-2003 vide S.O. 1093 (E), dated 22nd September, 2003.


Section 5B. Standing Committee of the National Board

1[5B. Standing Committee of the National Board

(1) The National Board may, in its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee for the purpose of exercising such powers and performing such duties as may be delegated to the Committee by the National Board.

(2) The Standing Committee shall consist of the Vice-Chairperson, the Member-Secretary, and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.

(3) The National Board may constitute committees, sub-committees or study groups, as may be necessary, from time to time in proper discharge of the functions assigned to it.]

1. Inserted by Act 16 of 2003, section 6.


Section 5C. Functions of the National Board

1[5C. Functions of the National Board

(1) It shall be the duty of the National Board to promote the conservation and development of wild life and forests by such measures as it thinks fit.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, the measures referred to therein may provide for-

(a) framing policies and advising the Central Government and the State Governments on the ways and means of promoting wild life conservation and effectively controlling poaching and illegal trade of wild life and its products;

(b) making recommendations on the setting up of and management of national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas and on matters relating to restriction of activities in those areas;

(c) carrying out or causing to be carried out impact assessment of various projects and activities on wild life or its habitat;

(d) reviewing from time to time, the progress in the field of wild life conservation in the country and suggesting measures for improvement thereto; and

(e) preparing and publishing a status report at least once in two years on wild life in the country.]

1. Inserted by Act 16 of 2003, section 6.


Section 6. Constitution of State Board for Wild Life

1[6. Constitution of State Board for Wild Life

(1) The State Government shall, within a period of six months from the date of commencement of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002 constitute a State Board for Wild Life consisting of the following members, namely:-

(a) the Chief Minister of the State and in case of the Union territory, either Chief Minister or Administrator, as the case may be - Chairperson;

(b) the Minister in-charge of Forests and Wild Life - Vice-Chairperson;

(c) three members of the State Legislature or in the case of a Union territory with Legislature, two members of the Legislative Assembly of that Union territory;

(d) three persons to represent non-governmental organizations dealing with wild life to be nominated by the State Government;

(e) ten persons to be nominated by the State Government from amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists including at least two representatives of the Scheduled Tribes;

(f) the Secretary to the State Government or the Government of the Union territory, as the case may be, in-charge of Forests and Wild Life;

(g) the Officer in-charge of the State Forest Department;

(h) the Secretary to the State Government, Department of Tribal Welfare;

(i) the Managing Director, State Tourism Development Corporation;

(j) an officer of the State Police Department not below the rank of Inspector-General;

(k) a representative of the Armed Forces not below the rank of a Brigadier to be nominated by the Central Government;

(l) the Director, Department of Animal Husbandry of the State;

(m) the Director, Department of Fisheries of the State;

(n) an officer to be nominated by the Director, Wild Life Preservation;

(o) a representative of the Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun;

(p) a representative of the Botanical Survey of India;

(q) a representative of the Zoological Survey of India;

(r) the Chief Wild Life Warden, who shall be the Member-Secretary.

(2) The term of office of the members other than those who are members ex officio and the manner of filling vacancies referred to in clauses (d) and (e) of sub-section (1) and procedure to be followed shall be such, as may be prescribed.

(3) The member (except members ex officio) shall be entitled to receive such allowances in respect of expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as may be prescribed.]

1. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 7, for section 6 (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (see Annexe)


Section 7. Procedure to be followed by the Board

(1) The Board shall meet at least twice a year at such place as the State Government may direct.

(2) The Board shall regulate its own procedure (including the quorum).

(3) No act or proceeding of the Board shall be invalid merely by reason of the existence of any vacancy therein or any defect in the constitution thereof or any irregularity in the procedure of the Board not affecting the merits of the case.

Section 8. Duties of State Board for Wild Life

Duties of1[State Board for Wild Life

It shall be the duty of the1[State Board for Wild Life] to advise the State Government,-

2[(a) in the selection and management of areas to be declared as protected areas;]

3[(b) in formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of the wild life and specified plants;]

(c) in any matter relating to the amendment of any Schedule;4[***]

5[(cc) in relation to the measures to be taken for harmonising the needs of the tribals and other dwellers of the forest with the protection and conservation of wild life; and]

(d) in any other matter connected with the protection of wild life which may be referred to it by the State Government.

1. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 8, for "the Wild Life Advisory Board" (w.e.f. 1-4-2003).

2. Substituted by Act 16 of 2003, section 8, for clause (a) (w.e.f. 1-4-2003) (See Annexe).

3. Substituted by Act 44 of 1991, section 8 for clause (b) (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).

4. The word "and" omitted by Act 44 of 1991, section 8 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991)

5. Inserted by Act 44 of 1991, section 8 (w.e.f. 2-10-1991).


Chapter 3