Government files petition seeking stay of SC order on FRA; hearing tomorrow

On February 13, SC had asked state authorities to submit affidavits explaining why evictions, wherever ordered, have not taken place

By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Wednesday 27 February 2019
Representational Photo: Joyjeet Das

The Union government moved a petition on February 27, 2019 seeking a stay on the Supreme Court (SC) order on the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (Forests Rights Act), according to media reports.

The apex court, while hearing a petition on February 13, 2019 by wildlife organisations and retired forest officials against the Forest Rights Act (FRA), asked authorities of  21 states to file affidavits explaining why evictions, wherever ordered, have not taken place.

“Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the applications today before the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha, which agreed to hear them tomorrow,” the report, dated February 27, 2019, says.

The SC had passed a similar order on January 29, 2016, in the same case, asking states to file affidavits detailing the number of claims rejected and why they were not evicted within two weeks.

This order was immediately followed by a clarification by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) — the nodal ministry for the implementation of FRA — on February 5, 2016.

In this clarification, the ministry had pointed towards the process to be followed after a claim is rejected and the need to put that data in court, along with the data on just the number of rejected claims.

“In order to place the complete information before the honourable court, it may be necessary to provide details of the process that is followed in case of rejection of claims, including communication of reason, opportunity of appeal, and cases where claims are being re-examined due to wrongful rejection,” the clarification said.

If a claim is rejected, the claimant has to be informed about the reasons for rejection. Then, the claimant has 90 days to appeal against it.

“No petition of the aggrieved person shall be disposed of, unless he has been given a reasonable opportunity to present anything in support of his claim,” the law says.

Several states, including Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha and others have already witnessed protests against the SC’s February 13 order.

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