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The Telegraph reports:

Czech scientist Petr Svacha, accused of illegally collecting insects from Singalila National Park, was let off with a fine of Rs 20,000 today after the chief judicial magistrate of Darjeeling took note of his reputation as a renowned entomologist and said he was a “victim of circumstances”.

However, his associate Emil Kucera, a forest official in the Czech Republic, was sentenced to three years of simple imprisonment and told to pay a fine of Rs 60,000.

First of all, I don’t see why there is this disparity in sentencing.

Secondly, I can understand the rationale behind criminalizing the killing of rare animals, but collecting a few beetles? Honestly? Why should there be a law against it?

They say there are no easy solutions to hard problems. But there indeed is a quick and effective way to get rid of many of the serious problems facing India. Just get rid of 90% of the laws and regulations in the Indian rulebook. Then the courts can get back to real cases and clear some of that backlog, enterprising citizens can open a new business without getting fifteen licenses, and people can live their lives the way they deem fit.

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In inquisition-era Europe, you could be imprisoned, tortured or worse, burned to death for scientific enquiry.

These days, you merely receive death threats.

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