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The ‘Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights Act)’

The ‘Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights Act)’:

Ignoring the law that stresses that original inhabitants, traditional forest dwellers and Adivasis must not be evicted from Tiger Reserves, the MoEFCC, has recently simply stated that they will be rehabilitated so that they do not lose their traditional livelihood. No details on any modalities have, however, been provided.

  • However, activists have raised voice for the protection of these vulnerable sections under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act.
  • The Act passed in 2006 grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities.

Rights under the Act:

  • Title rights – i.e. ownership – to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers as on 13 December 2005, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family as on that date, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  • Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  • Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  • Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.
  • According to Section 2(c) of Forest Rights Act (FRA), to qualify as Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, three conditions must be satisfied by the applicant/s, who could be “members or community”:
    • Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed; and
    • Primarily resided in forest or forests land prior to 13-12-2005; and
    • Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.
    • And to qualify as Other Traditional Forest Dweller (OTFD) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, two conditions need to be fulfilled:
  • Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) prior to 13-12-2005.
  • Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

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