U-K forest dwellers: HC stays claim rejection

The Karnataka High Court has stayed the operation of the orders of rejection passed by the sub-level committee and district-level rights committee pertaining to the claim of of various forest dwellers/occupants of forest land in various taluks of Uttara Kannada district.

A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy was hearing a petition filed by North Canara Forest Lands Fighters Forum challenging the rejection of claims of forest dwellers by the Uttara Kannada committee.

The court also asked the social welfare department and the district forest rights committee to not evacuate the occupants of the forest land. The bench issued notice to the state government, the commitee and district Scheduled Tribe welfare officer in this regard.

The petitioner has contended that the only reason assigned for rejection was that the applicants failed to make available the documents of proof of the forest dwelling, which was not sustainable

As per the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act 2008, the committees themselves have to visit the site and collect the required information and consider the claim for grant of occupancy rights and the petitioners claimed that this procedure had not been followed.

The petitioner had sought for directions to the authorities to reconsider the claim of the applicants ( forest dwellers) in terms of Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act 2006 and Forest Right Rules and direct the authorities not to evacuate the occupants.

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