SC orders eviction of more than 10 lakh forest dwellers in next five months

The Supreme Court has given the nod to evict more than ten lakh tribal and Adivasi families living in forests. The three-judge member, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indrani Banerjee, gave the states time till July 27 and directed the governments to evict all those whose claims were rejected. “In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this court,” the order said, while adding that states explain why no eviction was taken place so far, in spite of the

The order was passed on a PIL which challenged the validity of the Forest Rights Act, passed in 2006 to give back to traditional forest dwellers their right to access, manage and govern forests. Around 11,72,931 land ownership claims made by Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act have been rejected, according to affidavits filed by states in the apex court.

As per the Act, forest dwellers living on forest land for at least three generations prior to December 31, 2005, are eligible for land rights. The apex court has asked 17 state governments to carry out the eviction process.  Out of the 17 states, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha comprise 20 per cent of the total claims for land ownership.

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