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Forest-Dwellers Facing Eviction

Forest-Dwellers Facing Eviction

In India, even after several laws recognizing the rights of Scheduled Tribes and forest dwellers coming into force, they are unaware of their rights unfortunately, because of illiteracy and their backwardness.  Under reserve quota, many politicians belonging to Scheduled Tribes have been elected to the seats of power and several persons have been selected in Central/State Administrative Services; still they are unable to protect the rights of their own brothers and sisters.  

Very few are aware that recently the Supreme Court passed an order [on 13.02.2019 in Writ Petition (C) No.109/2008 Wild Life Forest & Ors. Vs. Ministry of Forest & Environment www.sci.nic.in] directing 21 states to ensure the eviction of all those persons from forestland whose claims under the Forest Rights Act have been rejected. After protests by tribal groups and activists against the order to evict 11.8 lakh various forest dwellers and Scheduled Tribes, the Central Government petitioned that the eviction order be stayed. The Government submitted that the affected persons were illiterate and uninformed about their forest rights as well as the procedure for presenting documents before authorities.  

The Supreme Court on Feb 28 temporarily stayed the eviction.   The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra directed states to submit details of the process adopted in rejection of claims under the Forests Rights Act and the authorities which passed the orders and also whether the State Level Monitoring Committees under the Act monitored the process. The states have been directed to submit details within 4 months, and till then the implementation of February 13 order has been stayed.

According to the said order, the state wise numbers of claims filed and rejected are as below (as furnished to the Supreme Court by the State Governments):

Sl. No.

Name of the State

No of applications/ claims filed and land involved

No of claims rejected

 

 

ST

OFD

ST

OFD

1.

Andhra Pradesh

114400 acres

 

66351

 

2.

Assam

74364

10128 hec.

19966

561.4 hect.

22398

5136

3.

Bihar

2976

1720

2666

1688

4.

Chhattisgarh

 

 

20095 in all action taken against 4380

5.

Goa

6094

4036

 

 

6.

Gujarat

168899

13970

 

 

7.

Himachal Pradesh

2131

92

 

 

8

Jharkhand

107187

3569

27809

298

9.

Karnataka

48432

227014

35521

141019

10.

Kerala

39999

 

894

 

11.

Madhya Pradesh

426105

153306

204123

150664

12.

Maharashtra

254042

105681

13712

8797

13.

Odisha

573867

31687