Forests

Social scientists, conservationists file application in SC supporting FRA

They say a wrong impression is sought to be created about the FRA, that it supports encroachment over forest land

 
By Ishan Kukreti
Last Updated: Thursday 25 July 2019
The Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons The Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ten eminent social scientists and conservationists have filed an Application for Impleadment in the Supreme Court on the ongoing constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. 

The applicants include historian and writer Ramachandra Guha, Sharachchandra Lele of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Raman Sukumar of the Indian Institute of Science, Geetanjoy Sahu of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, author Pradeep Krishen, Arupjyoti Saikia of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, MD Madhusudan of Nature Conservation Foundation, Amita Baviskar of Institute of Economic Growth and academic Nandini Sundar.

If accepted by the court, the application will make these 10 persons party to the ongoing case. 

The application focuses on the poor implementation of the FRA and says, "A wrong impression is sought to be created by the petitioners and others that the FRA is about regularising encroachment over forest land and that, while implementing the said Act, vast tracts of forest land are being handed over to encroachers".

The court was supposed to decide on whether the applicants is to be admitted or not on July 24. However, the court could not hear the case.

The hearing is now scheduled for July 25, 2019.

"Tribals in the Western Ghat areas of Karnataka and Kerala have been there for a very long time and are under the threat of eviction. This is extremely unfair," Raman Sukumar, one of the applicants, told Down To Earth.

He added: "If you want people to actively participate in conservation then you should be thinking of reward systems and not punishment systems. They have coexisted with tigers for a long time and they haven't harmed tigers to any great extent. That is the reason that the tiger population in this area has increased."

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