The Tribal Affairs Ministry on Friday said that it will defend the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act in order to safeguard the interests of the tribals in the country.
The statement comes after the Supreme Court ordered the eviction of over 10 lakh families from tribal communities and other forest dwellers from the forest areas in the country after turning down their claims of right to live in the forestland under the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
While the court order gave reference to rejections from 16 states which had filed data in their affidavits, all states are required to comply with the order.
"The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is well aware of its responsibilities of defending the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act and the Ministry will do everything at its disposal to safeguard the interests of the tribals as it has been doing so far," the Tribal Affairs Ministry said.
It said misleading news items in relation to the development were published in a section of the media. The Ministry also said that the states were sensitised from time to time for the implementation of the various provisions of the FRA in letter and spirit.
The eviction order came after a case was filed by wildlife NGOs challenging the validity of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, which protects the rights of forest dwellers and tribal communities.
The NGOs said the Act was against the Constitution, as it causes forest destruction and endangers the flora and fauna.
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