Measures to Protect and Safeguard Land Rights of Scheduled Tribes
The protect and safeguarding the land rights and other rights of Scheduled Tribes who are the most marginalized, isolated and deprived population, following constitutional and legislative measure have been put in place:
- The Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is being implemented to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.
- Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act, 2013 in short) safeguards against displacement of Scheduled Tribes. Special provisions have been made for under Sections 41 and 42 of the RFCTLARR Act, 2013 to protect the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 mandates that the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land in the Scheduled Areas or development projects and before resettling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas.
- Constitutional provisions under Schedule – V also provide for safeguards against displacement of the tribal population because of land acquisitions etc. The Governor of the State, having scheduled Areas, is empowered to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land from tribals and regulate the allotment of land to members of the Scheduled Tribes in such cases
- The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 provides for legal services to members of Scheduled Tribes.
- Wrongfully dispossessing members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes from their land or premises or interfering with the enjoyment of their rights, including forest rights, over any land or premises or water or irrigation facilities or destroying the crops or taking away the produce therefrom amount to atrocities and are subject to punishment under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Further, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing several schemes and programmes for upliftment and development of Scheduled Tribes in the country.