Business Standard

Eviction of tribals holding forest land put on hold


IANS New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Thursday put on hold its own order directing eviction of tribals, including forest dwellers whose claim over the forest land was rejected.
Asking states to file details of procedure followed for rejecting the tribals' claims, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice M.R. Shah put on hold its own February 13 order directing eviction of tribals in unauthorised possession of forest land.
The court asked the Chief Secretaries of states to give details of the procedure followed by them in deciding claims over the forest land and also if the same was monitored by the state-level monitoring committees.
It also pulled up the Centre for going into slumber and then suddenly approaching the bench advocating the tribals' rights.
Stating that the entire exercise "can't be left in the lurch", the court said that those who are not in authorised possession of forest land must go.
However, it made it clear that "mighty people" must not "encroach upon forest land under the guise of Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers".
When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pleaded that there was no procedure for accepting or rejecting claims, Justice Sinha pointed to Section 9 and 10 of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
He told Mehta that there is a detailed procedure for deciding the claim over forest land, including review of the decision including appeal against it.
When lawyers representing states pleaded that they should be allowed to file sample orders of rejection and eviction as the cases could go into lakhs, the apex bench said that states must file response in all the cases of rejection.
The apex court reiterating its February 13 order asked the Forest Survey of India to undertake a satellite survey of forest lands.
The February 13 order was applicable for the forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers whose claims were rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 9:42 PM IST

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