NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in July on the eviction of tribals whose forest rights claims were rejected by government authorities, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) is convening a meeting of all states on June 20 to review the progress on claims under the Forest Rights Act.
The Centre will review whether or not the states are complying with the due processes before final rejection of claims. It is coordinating with the states on determining the total number of tribals whose claims were rejected after following the due process of verifying each claim. In a meeting convened in March, the state governments had claimed there was duplication of claims due to which the rate of rejection was high.
In an interim order, the Supreme Court had directed 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose forest rights claims were rejected by the authorities. Later, the top court stayed its order after several appeals were filed in the case.
If implemented, the order can lead to lakhs of tribals being evicted. “We want to ensure that there is proper compliance of Forest Rights Act and if a state has faltered anywhere, we will step in. However, we will only brainstorm on what we have so far, and not interfere with what their legal stand is on the issue and the affidavits that they will submit,” said a senior ministry official.