Forest Rights Act: SC orders eviction of over 1 million people from forest areas

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New Delhi | Published: February 21, 2019 1:48:49 PM

In a significant development for tribals living in forests, the Supreme Court has asked 17 state governments to evict close to one million in forest areas, after their claim has been rejected.

supreme court, supreme court hearing, forest rights actThe top court rejected their claims on various grounds.

In a significant development for tribals living in forests, the Supreme Court has asked 17 state governments to evict close to one million in forest areas, after their claim has been rejected. In its order, the top court asked the eviction to be carried out by July 12. A number of tribals had earlier claimed their rights to live in forests under the Forest Rights Act.

The top court rejected their claims on various grounds including lack of proof that tribals were in possession of land for at least three generations. As per the law, only those living in forests areas for at least three generations before December 31, 2005, are eligible for land rights. The law has been slammed by a number of wildlife activists as well as those fighting for rights of tribals.

States like, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha are the biggest losers. These three states have the highest numbers, with 20 per cent claiming land ownership submitted under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

It was during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, that the law was enacted to undo the injustice done to those living in forests under Indian Forest Act, 1927, that termed them “encroachers” on the land they were tilling for a number of generations.

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The Supreme Court has issued directions to chief secretaries of 17 states to ensure that cases where land ownership been rejected, the eviction is done till next date of hearing next date of hearing, which is July 12.

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