Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court has directed the forest department authorities not to dispossess the tribals who had been dwelling in the forest habitations for generations.
Justice Challa Kodanda Ram was dealing the petition by 40 members of the Koya tribe living in the forest habitations which fall under the Penagadapa gram panchayat in Bhadradri Kothagudem district. They sought a direction from the court to the forest authorities to not infringe their forest rights as provided in the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
While issuing interim directions against the eviction of the petitioners from the forest, Justice Kodanda Ram recalled Section 4(5) of the said Act which stated that no member of a forest-dwelling tribe shall be evicted till the completion of recognition and verification procedures.
The petitioners said that the forest range officers of Kothagudem reserve forest were forcing them to leave, in violation of the Act.
The officials were not even complying with the Supreme Court orders which had directed the forest department on February 28 in general, while dealing another case filed by the Union ministry, not to evict the tribes from the forest lands across the country....