The Supreme Court has ordered eviction of more than 10 lakh Scheduled Tribe and other forest-dwellers (OTFDs) households from forestlands across 21 states. This comes after their claim as forest dwellers have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 seeks to recognize forest rights of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been occupying and are dependent on the forest land for generations.
The Act recognizes a) Community Rights or rights over common property resources of the communities in addition to their individual rights, b) right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce, c) Rights in and over disputed land Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forests into revenue villages, d) right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use, e) right to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or displacement from forest land, f) Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity
The Act also provides for diversion of forest land for public utility facilities managed by the Government, such as schools, dispensaries, fair price shops, electricity and telecommunication lines, water tanks, etc. with the recommendation of Gram Sabhas