KOLKATA: THE Centre on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the possible eviction of more than 10 lakh forest dwellers and tribals in various states.
Citing an age-old close relationship between forest dwelling communities and protection of the environment, the ministry of tribal affairs has filed an application in the court, pleading for the modification of a judicial order of February 13 that may result in forcible eviction of tribals and forest-dwelling households across 16 states.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the application before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, which agreed to hear the case on Thursday. The plea claimed that the court should suspend its order and ask the state governments to submit details of rejection of claims by forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) and other traditional forest dwellers (OTFDs).
It pointed out that the court issued its order on February 13 based on the data produced by the states regarding rejection of the claims by the dwellers.
“It is uncertain whether the data furnished by the state governments accurately indicates whether the rejection orders were passed after observance of due process; compliance with principles of natural justice and whether appeal mechanisms have been properly exhausted. Without such information, the eviction of such tribal, would amount to serious miscarriage of justice,” the ministry said.