On February 28, 2019, the Supreme Court stayed its February 13, 2019 order which could have caused possible eviction of 11.8 lakh tribal and traditional forest-dwellers. A three-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Naveen Sinha and M R Shah has also asked the states to file affidavits stating clearly the procedure followed while rejecting the claims.
On February 27, 2019, the Central Government moved to the Supreme Court seeking to stay possible eviction of 11.8 lakh tribal and traditional forest-dwellers whose claims for right over forest land have been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (Forest Rights Act). Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned, before the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha, the applications on behalf of the Central Government and the State of Gujarat for urgent hearing. The Court agreed to hear the matter tomorrow, February 28, 2019.
As the legal battle unfolded in the last l1 years, the petitions which were originally filed to challenge the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act swung towards the issue of tribal families and forest-dwellers rights. The question was thus fundamentally changed, and the Supreme Court took it upon itself to issue orders of eviction even before the central question of constitutional validity has been fully debated, argued and decided.
The two-judge bench comprising Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Naveen Sinha held that NGT has no jurisdiction to entertain Vedanta appeals against Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to close down Sterlite copper plant. While refusing to allow the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite plant on the ground of maintainability, the Court asked Vedanta to approach Madaras High Court against Tamil Nadu government’s order to close down the Sterlite units.
A total of 373 elephants died unnaturally in last three years all over India. Of them, 62 died due to train accidents, 226 died due to electrocution, 59 died due to poaching and 26 died due to poisoning, informs MoS (Environment) in Lok Sabha.
A country which has the fourth largest reserves in the world, mining industry which contributes 2.5% to the GDP, it is disheartening to see that this incident not just brings out the disregard for Human Rights and Labour Rights but is also a proof of the severe apathy on part of both the Central Government and the State Government
Because the powers that be usually turn a blind eye to illegal mining, for the safety enforcement authorities such mines do not exist. There is no question of enforcing any safety standards in them. For instance, on the official website of the Director General of Mining Safety there is not a single reference to rat-hole mining or the Meghalaya tragedy. Such indifference is a greater tragedy that could pave the way for many more Meghalaya-like tragedies.