Rights and procedure under The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

  • Title rights

It gives FDST and OTFD the right to ownership to land farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares. Ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family and no new lands will be granted.

  • Use rights

The rights of the dwellers extend to extracting Minor Forest Produce, 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

It includes the right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.

Who can claim these Rights?

Members or community of the Scheduled Tribes who primarily reside in and who depend on the forests or forest lands for bona fide livelihood needs. It can also be claimed by any member or community who has for at least three generations (75 years) prior to the 13th day of December, 2005 primarily resided in forests land for bona fide livelihood needs. The Gram Sabha is the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) or Community Forest Rights (CFR) or both that may be given to FDST and OTFD.

Procedure:

  • First, the gram sabha (full village assembly, NOT the gram panchayat) makes a recommendation – i.e who has been cultivating land for how long, which minor forest produce is collected, etc. The gram sabha plays this role because it is a public body where all people participate, and hence is fully democratic and transparent.
  • The gram sabha’s recommendation goes through two stages of screening committees at the taluka and district levels.
  • The district level committee makes the final decision (see section 6(6)). The Committees have six members – three government officers and three elected persons.
  • At both the taluka and the district levels, any person who believes a claim is false can appeal to the Committees, and if they prove their case the right is denied (sections 6(2) and 6(4)).
  • Finally, land recognised under this Act cannot be sold or transferred.

Importance:

The acts looks to right the wrongs of government policies in both colonial and independent India toward forest-dwelling communities, whose claims over their resources were taken away during 1850s. The act also has potential of sustainably protecting forest through traditional ways along with providing tribes means of livelihood. It expands the mandate of the Fifth and the Sixth Schedules of the Constitution that protect the claims of indigenous communities over tracts of land or forests they inhabit.

The alienation of tribes was one of the factors behind the Naxal movement, which affects states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. The act through identifying IFR and CFR tries to provide inclusion to tribes. It has the potential to democratise forest governance by recognising community forest resource rights over an estimated 85.6 million acres, thereby empowering over 200 million forest dwellers in over 1,70,000 villages. The act will ensure that people get to manage their forest on their own which will regulate exploitation of forest resources by officials, forest governance and management as well as tribal rights etc.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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