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Gauhati High Court directs Assam government to consider rehabilitation of Tribals residing in eco-sensitive zones

03:02 PM Nov 18, 2022 IST | India Legal
gauhati high court directs assam government to consider rehabilitation of tribals residing in eco sensitive zones
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The Gauhati High Court has directed the Commissioner & Secretary, Department of Environment & Forest, State of Assam to decide the representation of the petitioner filed seeking direction to the Respondent authorities to take immediate steps to provide adequate rehabilitation and/or compensations to the tribal people residing in proposed areas of Eco-sensitive zone of Borail Wildlife Sanctuary, Arang Reserve Forest and the Barak-Bhuban Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rashmin Manharbhai Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking following relief :-

“In the premises aforesaid, it is most respectfully prayed that Your Lordship Would be pleased to admit this petition, call for the records, issue a Rule calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why:- 

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I) A writ in the nature of Mandamus and/or any other writ of likenature be not issued directing the Respondent authorities to forthwithstop/cancel the process of declaration of Eco-sensitive zone of Borail WildlifeSanctuary by grabbing/sketching the lands of indigenous tribal peoples.   

II) A writ in the nature of Mandamus and/or any other writ of likenature be not issued directing the Respondent authorities to forthwithstop/cancel the process of constitution/creation of Barak-Bhuban WildlifeSanctuary by grabbing/sketching the lands of indigenous tribal peoples. 

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III) A writ in the nature of Mandamus and/or any other writ of likenature be not issued directing the Respondent authorities to forthwithstop/cancel the process of conversion of forest areas into Arang ReserveForest by grabbing/sketching the lands of indigenous tribal peoples. 

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IV) A writ in the nature of Mandamus and/or any other writ of likenature be not issued directing the Respondent authorities to take immediate steps to provide adequate rehabilitation and/or compensations to the tribal people residing in the proposed areas of Eco-sensitive zone of Borail WildlifeSanctuary, Arang Reserve Forest and the Barak-Bhuban Wildlife Sanctuary. 

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V) A writ in the nature of Mandamus and/or any other writ of likenature be not issued directing the respondents to act on the representations submitted by the petitioners by conducting an enquiry on the issues raised by the petitioners.And/or cause or causes being shown, upon hearing parties, on perusal of the records be pleased to make the Rule absolute, and/or pass such further order/orders as Your Lordships may deem fit and proper. 
-AND- 
During the pendency of the Rule, Your Lordships may be pleased to direct the respondent authorities not to disturb the peaceful possession of the lands of the tribal peoples in proposed areas of Eco-sensitive zone of BorailWildlife Sanctuary, Arang Reserve Forest and the Barak-Bhuban WildlifeSanctuary and/or pass such order/orders as Your Lordships may deem fit and proper.”  
The Court noted from the record that the  petition is filed based upon the representations filed by the petitioners on 07.09.2022 and08.09.2022 to the respondent authorities. 

‘The Commissioner & Secretary, Department of Environment & Forest, State of Assam is hereby directed to consider the said representations and pass a reasoned order therein as expeditiously as possible but not later than 31.12.2022 and communicate the same to the petitioners by registered post with A/D at the address which is mentioned in the memo of the petition. Learned counsel for the respondents shall also send a copy of the paper book to the Commissioner & Secretary,Department of Environment & Forest, State of Assam.With the aforesaid direction, the present petition is disposed of at this stage’, the order read.

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