ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Forest Rights

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The editorial Insidious Infringement of Forest Rights (EPW, 13 April 2019) has raised critical questions about the timing and the proposed hegemonic amendments to the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927. This needs to be seen as a follow up of the Supreme Courts order on 13 February 2019 asking for eviction of more than 10 lakh people whose claims under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, popularly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006, were rejected. The editorial has brought out the inherent contradictions within the proposed amendments and their negation of the FRA and the principle of subsidiarity which are core components of federal and decentralised governance. 

However, the editorial has missed some of the crucial aspects. First, the process to amend the IFA has been shrouded in secrecy. Further, bringing such an exhaustive set of amendments when Parliament is not in session clearly indicates the abdication of the responsibilities by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the government. Why was the same not put forward in the last session of Parliament, when the draft was ready in 2018? All this has to be understood as capitalisation of forestry and extending monopoly of power over the forest and other natural resources, especially mining in the Indian context. 

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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