In a good news for conservationists and nature lovers the state government has set up 10 fast-track courts to expedite wildlife crime cases. To expeditiously clear the colossal scale of pending cases related to wildlife crime the fast-track courts will exclusively deal with wildlife offences thereby ensuring prompt trial of poachers. "The move is expected to improve the conviction rate, which has been abysmally low, in wildlife crime cases.The courts have been set up in Golaghat, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang and Udalguri districts where national parks and most of the wildlife sanctuaries are located. The courts came into being recently with Gauhati High Court designating the seniormost additional sessions judge in the 10 districts for faster disposal of cases under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and other offences related to forests, which can be tried in a sessions court.The high court notification states that if any district does not have an additional sessions judge, the sessions court can become a fast-track court for wildlife crimes.
"It is a welcome step as wildlife cases remain pending in court for years. With the setting up of fast-track courts, the cases will get speedy disposal," said Nabajyoti Baruah a nature activist of Udalguri. He expressed hope that setting up of fast-track courts will work as a deterrent to poaching thereby lowering the wildlife crime and saving the one-horned rhinoceros.