File photo: The Supreme Court of India. Photograph:( Reuters )
The apex court had on March 5 taken cognisance of another plea filed by Larka, seeking a direction to the Centre not to allot possession of any forest land belonging to tribals to anyone other than ‘adivasi’ residing in that particular area.
The Supreme Court Monday referred to another bench a fresh plea seeking a direction to authorities not to evict any forest dweller in Chhattisgarh and to set up an SIT to look into the alleged illegal acquisition of tribals’ land. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta sent the plea filed by Chhattisgarh-based Tarika Tarangini Larka to a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, which is already seized of a similar plea relating to eviction of alleged illegal forest dwellers.
“List this matter before the bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra,” the bench said, adding that in any case, the February 13 order, directing 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers, has already been stayed by the bench concerned. Lawyer M L Sharma, appearing for Larka, submitted that the issues raised in the PIL were of larger interest for forest dwellers and hence, the notice be issued.
The apex court had on March 5 taken cognisance of another plea filed by Larka, seeking a direction to the Centre not to allot possession of any forest land belonging to tribals to anyone other than ‘adivasi’ residing in that particular area. The top court, while dealing with other similar pending petition, had on February 28 stayed its February 13 order directing 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose claims over the forest land have been rejected by authorities.
In the fresh petition, filed through lawyer M L Sharma, Larka has alleged that authorities in Tamnar of Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district have “forcibly” grabbed a large area of tribal land and handed it to outsiders and now are trying to oust ‘adivasi’ from the area. “For this, they adopted simple strategy declaring forest dweller as non-adivasi to grab their land in the forest and village by rejecting their claim upon land,” the plea has said. It has sought restoration of land acquired by the government from tribals in Chhattisgarh for mining and other purposes and to provide them value of mined minerals.
The petition has also sought setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising retired judges of the apex court to look into the alleged illegal acquisition of land belonging to tribals throughout the country. Besides, it has sought a direction to the CBI to register an FIR under the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act to investigate the matters brought to light by the SIT and to file their report before the apex court.