Tribals in Maharashtra whose individual or community forest rights have been rejected by District Level Committees constituted under a special Act can now appeal against the decision, said a notification issued by Governor BS Koshyari on Wednesday.
The notification provides a relief to tribals whose individual or community forest rights have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), a landmark legislation enacted by the Centre in 2006. The FRA seeks to restore rights of tribes living in forests for generations.
Appeals can be made by aggrieved tribals before Divisional Level Committees, it said.
The notification is a "very important" step "for providing justice to tribals whose individual forest right or community forest right have been rejected by the District Level Committees constituted under the FRA," according to a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan.
The new measure applies in the PESA (Panchayats Extension and Scheduled Areas) in Maharashtra and allows appeal provision against the decision of such panels, it said.
Divisional Level Committees under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioners have been constituted to hear the appeals against the decision of the District Level Committees, the notification said.
"In case of order passed by District Level Committees before the commencement of the notification, the application for appeal shall be made within six months from the date of
issue of the notification," it said.
In case of order passed by the District Level Committees after the commencement of the notification, application of appeal shall be made within a period of 90 days, the notification said.
"It was observed by the Governor that a large number of applications under the Act relating to record of rights are rejected by the District Level Committees," the statement said.
"However, there was no provision in the Act for appeal against the decision of District Level Committees. Therefore, this notification was issued for the benefit of thousands of tribals," the statement said.