FRA Verdict- IE By Yasmin Gill
Know your educator Yasmin Gill BE (EEE) from UIET, PU in 2014 Qualified for UPSC Mains State Rank 24 in Punjab Civil Services 2015 Follow me on Unacademy https://unacademy.com/user/yashi.gilloi
Referral Code for Plus- 'yashi.gillo1' QUESTION OF THE DAY- Q- Forest Rights Act requires a creative interpretation of the law for its better implementation. Comment
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CONTEXT-Supreme Court put on hold its recent order asking states to evict forest-dwellers whose claims on land had been rejected under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. Court was hearing a petition by wildlife organisations and retired forest officials against the Forest Rights Act SC acknowledged the need to ask whether due processes were followed by gram sabhas and state authorities before the claims for forest rights were rejected In several instances triple talaq and privacy cases SC has interpreted the law creatively to meet social justice and uphold constitutional rights FRA, too, calls out for similar jurisprudence Act recognises that tribal and other traditional forest-dwelling communities would be hard put to provide documentary evidence for their claims
Rule 13 of the Act Gram sabhas should "consider more than one evidence in determining forest rights" Sanctions a wide range of evidence, including "statements by village elders" "community rights" and "physical attributes such as houses, huts and permanent improvements made to land such as levelling, bunds and check dams Gujarat HC- 2013- confirmed FRA's inclusive principle The primary duty of the Court, while interpreting the provisions of the Act, is to adopt a constructive approach... One should not overlook or ignore the hard fact that the claim petitions are filed by persons who would hardly possess any convincing and cogent evidence" 2014 - Virginius Xaxa Committee- Gram sabhas were "rejecting claims of forest-dwellers without assigning reasons Rejections are not being communicated to the claimants, and their right to appeal is not being explained to them nor its exercise facilitated
Such criticisms of the FRA's implementation do not seem to have informed the SC's February 13 verdict (eviction) Its latest ruling, however, is a welcome corrective State govemments must now take the cue and ensure that due processes are followed in deciding or rejectingFRA claims Court has given states four months to respond to allegations of high rate of rejections, non-communication of rejection orders, lack of reasons in orders and frivolous objections If a claim is rejected, the claimant has to be informed about the reasons for rejection. Then, the claimant has 90 days to appeal against it.
Forests have become the new contested arenas between not only a range of people Adivasis, other traditional forest dwellers and outsidersbut also between them and nature conservationists, the forest department, the extractive mining industry, the eco-tourism industry and a faltering political and administrative apparatus Jawaharlal Nehru's commitment allowed to have their own habitats and autonomy Constitution Scheduled Areas, where tribals were to have special rights Adverse integration of tribals -most exploitative labour regimes most indifferent forms of administration based on Verier Elwin's advice Tribals be Displaced, Adivasis are now largely intemally-displaced refugees ISSUES- Mineral wealthCheated out of land rights by money lenders + Left-wing mobilisation A life of penury and rampant alcoholism Add to this pile, nature conservation programmes such as "Project Tiger that seek to restore forests as pristine nature spaces. These programmes have transformed forest-dwellers and tumed Adivasis into eco-refugees.
Such re-territorialisation of forests into "nature only" spaces has not led to any restoration of these tracts -Instead, in most cases, the original inhabitants live in impoverished colonies outside the sanctuaries and parks while the forest department's writ runs large over these terrains Administrative laxity has permitted the growth of a nature tourism industry This industry uses the tag of "eco-tourism" to legitimise its presence they have sought administrative corrections only when the cases pertain to the allocation of land under the Forest Rights Act .Why has the issue of India's forests by the mining, timber and tourism industries not been addressed? Presence of large resorts + Heavy footfall of tourists legitimised Forest Rights Act Large number of bogus claimants have emerged
Today, the Adivasi has become a pawn in the games that an indifferent polity. a corrupt administrative apparatus and an aggressively ambitious dominant society are playing Instead of seeking land rights on an individual bases, an Adivasi resurgence can claim collective rights on a format that recognises clan/tribal affiliation and work /production plans that can include restoration of habitats, ecological sustainability and autonomous govenance The strength of India's democracy is that it recognises the pluralism of Indians ociety