We are proud to recognise the work of NUJS Class of 2011 alum Ms. Meghna Banerjee towards wildlife conservation. She and her team at the wildlife NGO Human & Environment Alliance League (HEAL) have successfully curbed hunting practices in the southern part of Bengal and saved the lives of around 300 animals. The same has been applauded by Better India and many others in the fraternity.
Ms. Banerjee is one of HEAL's founders and took legal recourse by filing a PIL in the Calcutta High Court to put an end to the mass ritual hunting in East Medinipur and Howrah districts of West Bengal, especially during the Faloharini Kali Pujo hunt fest. Owing to HEAL’s incessant efforts, the Calcutta High Court passed an interim order that directed the West Bengal Forest Department to control hunting during Faloharini.
Additionally, she has ensured that the judicial order translates into grassroots level implementation monitoring the movement of hunting groups and informing any anomaly whatsoever to the local authorities. They even conducted various awareness campaigns across villages, schools and colleges. HEAL's efforts resulted in a reduction in hunting practices by 95 percent in 2019.
When asked about the role NUJS played in her journey, Ms. Banerjee said "During my days in college, I realized that there is a serious dearth of awareness regarding the environment and wildlife among people. There was an acute need to build awareness about the environment in simple terms so as to make conservation a mainstream subject. The well-rounded environmental law and tort law courses at NUJS made me realize that while there are laws to address environmental concerns, there was hardly any implementation of the same. This made me look at ways where I can combine my interest in nature with legal skills to address conservation issues."
Ms. Banerjee plans to continue ensuring the implementation of Calcutta High Court’s orders. She will also work towards identifying more areas where hunting takes place in South Bengal and conduct awareness programmes in those areas to sensitize hunters’ communities.
We congratulate Ms. Meghna Banerjee for her exemplary work and take pride in her achievement. We wish her the very best for all her future endeavours!