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  Metros   Mumbai  16 Sep 2019  22,000 forest claims wrongly rejected: Maharashtra

22,000 forest claims wrongly rejected: Maharashtra

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONALI TELANG
Published : Sep 16, 2019, 3:17 am IST
Updated : Sep 16, 2019, 3:17 am IST

The state government also emphasised the need to review the unlawful rejection of forest rights claim.

In a strong statement against some of its own bureaucrats, the Maharashtra government admitted that more than 22,500 forest rights claims were wrongfully rejected under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)
 In a strong statement against some of its own bureaucrats, the Maharashtra government admitted that more than 22,500 forest rights claims were wrongfully rejected under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)

Mumbai: In a strong statement against some of its own bureaucrats, the Maharashtra government admitted that more than 22,500 forest rights claims were wrongfully rejected under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

This was revealed in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the state where it mentioned irregularities in examining the evidence supporting tribals’ claims on forestland.

 

In response to the petition filed in the apex court about the eviction of forest dwellers whose claims were rejected, the state government said that district-level committees, comprising the state’s forest, revenue and tribal affairs department officers along with members of the Panchayati Raj institution, have rejected around 22,509 claims under the FRA while not considering the evidence submitted by forest dwellers and by giving improper reasons.

The state government claimed that in 51 per cent of FRA claims, examined documentary evidence such as forest offence notices, encroachment lists and forest fine receipts have been given.

In nearly 38 per cent of the cases, evidence such as the statements of elders, family history, physical attributes on claimed land and documents such as voter IDs and ration cards have been given.

 

“However, it appears that in most of the rejected cases, the district-level committee has not been to appreciate the admissible evidence. In several instances, the reason for rejection has been given on extraneous grounds,” read the state’s affidavit.

“For example, in the case of a Scheduled Tribe claimant, the DLC has rejected the claim application on the ground that the claimant has been unable to prove residency of three generations, which is required in the case of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers, and not Scheduled Tribes under the said Act,” the affidavit claimed.

The state government also emphasised the need to review the unlawful rejection of forest rights claim.

 

Tags: forest rights act, supreme court