1. What Does the Order Say?
The Supreme Court ordered that Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) categories across 16 States whose claim as forest-dwellers has been rejected under the Forest Rights Act, must be evicted by 24 July.
A Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, in a 19-page order, said that the “matter would be viewed seriously” if the evictions are not carried out in the said period.
Ironically, the SC order originated from a case on the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) – which for the first time in 2006 – granted tribal communities the right of settlement in forest areas. Prior to the enactment of the Act, the forest-dwellers were legally considered ‘encroachers.’
The court, with the view that 13 years is a “long time to complete the official trail” ordered that those whose settlement rights had not been accepted must be evicted.