Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
The Eastern Zone Bench of the NGT May 31, 2022, directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to clarify whether diversion of forest area below one hectare can be permitted under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 “in supersession of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980”.
The court was hearing about the diversion of 0.74 acres of Kisam Bad jungle in Ichhapura village under Odisha’s Jharigam tehsil. The jungle has been diverted for non-forestry purposes without prior clearance from the central government.
The divisional forest officer (DFO), Nabarangapur Forest Division said a diversion proposal was accepted for construction of a community centre, which is less than one hectare.
The tribunal said the affidavit does not mention whether clearance from the central government had been obtained for construction of the community centre and whether there was a recommendation from the Gram Sabha for the purpose. “The issue is about how the DFO has usurped the power of the central government,” the NGT order said.
The NGT directed the MoEF&CC to file an affidavit on the matter within a period of three weeks, stating as to whether any sanction was granted by it for diversion of forest land over the plot in question.
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