Hyderabad: The High Court has directed the government not to evict forest dwellers without following the procedure prescribed in the forest dwellers rights Act.
Justice Challa Kodanda Ram issued the orders while dealing with a batch of petitions filed by 150 forest-dwellers from villages like 85KW Chowdavaram and Kistaram of Khammam district, Ven-katapuram and Madagudem of Mahbubabad district, Linga-gudem and Vajjavarigudem in Kothagudem.
These petitioners had challenged the forcible evictions being carried out the officials without conducting a grama sabha and contrary to the other procedures laid down in The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
Mr Raj Kumar, counsel for the petitioners, said the Act specified that a gram sabha that should prepare a list of inhabitants. That list has to be sent to the committee constituted under the Act at the sub-divisional level which will examine and forward it to the district committee. The government without constituting any committees and without distinguishing between a forest dweller and encroacher was resorting to evictions.
Counsel for the forest department stated that the petitioners had migrated from Chhattisgarh from 2012. The Act covers notified tribes who were residing in the forests before the cut-off date of December 13, 2005.
The court told officials follow the procedure to determine whether or not the petitioners were forest dwellers....