NEW DELHI: Over 1,000 cases of individual forest rights (IFR) claims were wrongfully rejected under the Forest Rights Act across six states, according to a survey by Community Forest Rights-Learning and Advocacy (CFR-LA), an NGO network.
The survey conducted across 72 villages in the states of Chhattisgarh, MP, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra and Kerala shows large-scale violations and arbitrariness in the rejection of the claims and claimants were not allowed to appeal after rejections.
In Chhattisgarh, 64 cases were arbitrarily rejected while in Madhya Pradesh, over 260 wrongful rejections were reported. Jharkhand saw over 570 such cases, according to the NGO’s data.
A large number of cases also remain pending before the authorities, said the data which assessed cases from the inception of the FRA in the year 2008.
According to the data, the gram sabhas approved the claims but officers from tribal, forest or revenue departments did not join in the process of verification. The appeals were also not accepted in several cases with the sub-divisional level committee (SDLC) rejecting claims and not informing the claimants and the gram sabhas.
The land claims are processed through a three-tier system — the gram sabha, a sub-divisional-level committee (SLDC), and a district-level committee.
The report draws from testimonies from village meetings and consultations on the implementation of IFR land claims among local gram sabhas, forest rights committees, civil society organizations and researchers.