Friday, July 18, 2014

Court In India Says Enforcing Wildlife Protection Against Cobra Worship Is Constitutional

According to Pune Mirror, in India yesterday a 2-judge panel of the Bombay High Court rejected claims by residents of a village in Sangli that their constitutional right to freely practice their religion is being violated by enforcing the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 against them.  The villagers are known for observing Nag Panchami by capturing wild King Cobras in the forest, worshiping them and then releasing them back into the wild.  A public interest lawsuit filed last year has been attempting to stop the practice. A 2-judge bench of the Bombay High Court rejected villagers free exercise assertions, saying:
The capture and worship of live snakes for worship is not an essential part of the Hindu religion. Capturing live snakes and later releasing them back into the wild could cause them harm, which is against the law. Under the Constitution, citizens are duty-bound to protect these creatures.