Supreme Court Orders Eviction, Nearly 20 Lakh Tribals In Distress

The Supreme Court’s order has evicted over 20 Lakh tribals from the forest areas. As they have yet to demonstrate ownership of the tribal land they claim. Their ownership claims of the forest area they live in now have been rejected several times in the past by the respective states. So, as per the Supreme Court’s order, it will be the responsibility of the States to evict the whole tribal village form the said area.

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Across the country looking at the statistics, about 19.39 Lakh tribals and forest-dwellers will have to be moved, as their claims have been rejected. The data thus collected is according to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and was last updated on November 30th, 2018.

There is a protection for these people under an act called the Forest Rights Act of 2006, FRA. Which has been passed for a due “ recognition and vesting of the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded“.

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On the contrary, the Supreme Court’s order is only to limited and specified states, whose number is likely to go up in the future. The states which have been individually approached by the Supreme Court to evict the claimants will go up, as said by the Secretary of the ‘Campaign for Survival and Dignity’, Shankar Gopalakrishnan.

In his words, ” As other states submit their affidavits to the court, the same order is likely to be applied to them and the number of those who are impacted will increase”. There is a chance for the corrupt forest officials and officers to misuse this order and unnecessarily evict the tribals and the forest dwellers.

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The whole order came into force or took its form when the Wildlife organisations along with the retired forest officials have challenged the Authenticity and validity of the said Forest rights Act they have passed. The act safeguards the lives of the tribal people but it encourages ‘Encroachment into the Forestland’.

But, in detail look into the matter shows that the Supreme Court’s backing on its own order is not solid enough. There are flaws in its premises and the numbers are much higher than they say. Supreme Court has said that ‘ its orders are to be applied to the cases “in which orders have attained finality”,’. 

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The finality is still unexplained, as some of these claims were put to appeal after rejection, some were only studied based on Aerial satellite maps and not ground surveys etc. Following faulty methodologies and processes and evicting everyone on an unclear basis was not liked by many.

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