The Forest Conservation Act 1980 was passed in response to the growing concern over the rapid depletion of India’s forests, which had serious environmental and ecological consequences.
- The Forest Conservation Act, of 1980, applies to all kinds of forests, whether under the control of the Forest or the Revenue Department, and it requires statutory clearance before forests can be used for any non-forest purpose such as industry, mining, or construction.
- In 1976, forests were included in List III (Concurrent List) under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
- To conserve forests and ensure their sustainable management.
- To regulate the diversion of forestland for non-forestry purposes, such as mining, industrial projects, or infrastructure development.
- To ensure that any diversion of forestland is done only for a specific purpose and with the prior approval of the central government.
- To compensate for any loss of forest cover that may occur due to such diversion by undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities.
- The Act restricts the state government and other authorities to take decisions first without permission from the central government.
- The Forest Conservation Act 1980 gives complete authority to the Central government to carry out the objectives of the act.
- The Act levies penalties in case of violations of the provisions of FCA.
- The Forest Conservation Act will have an advisory committee which will help the Central government with regard to forest conservation.
1) Tarun Bharat Singh v. Union of India (1993)
In this case, a non-profit organization petitioned the Supreme Court via a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The petition was filed in response to illicit mining in the Alwar District’s reserved area. Despite the fact that the area was designated as protected under the Act, the state government had issued hundreds of mining permits. The Court ruled that once an area is designated as a protected forest, it is subject to the Forest (Conservation) Act, and that the State government can no longer engage in non-forest activities in the reserved area without first obtaining authorization from the federal government. Because mining is a non-forest activity, the State government’s decision to award or renew mining licenses is a non-forest decision. Because mining is a non-forest activity, the State government’s decision to give a mining license or renew a mining license is illegal. The State government and mining owners were also given an interlocutory order to prohibit illegal activity in the designated region.
2) State of MP v. Krishnadas Tikaram (1994)
In this case, the respondents were given a limestone mining concession in the forest area in 1966 for 20 years. After it expired in 1986, the respondents petitioned the State government to renew it. The state administration approved the lease renewal for another 20 years. This order was cancelled by the Forest Service. The cancellation was challenged at India’s Supreme Court. The Court ruled that under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, the state cannot award or renew the license without the Central government’s prior permission. As a result, the order cancellation was completed correctly.
3) Krishnadevi Malchand Kamathia v. Bombay Environmental Action (2011)
In this case, the District Collector filed a motion to begin contempt proceedings against the appellants for disobeying the court’s orders. The court had ordered the freshly constructed bund to be removed so that seawater could enter and protect the mangrove trees. The order attempted to stop the appellants from doing anything that would destroy the mangrove forests. The appellants have a permit to produce salt at the location. The Supreme Court ruled that salt production through solar evaporation of salt water is not permissible in the area because of the presence of mangrove trees. Mangrove forests are of considerable ecological importance and are also environmentally sensitive, which is why they are classified as CRZ-I. (Coastal Regulatory Zone-I). The Coastal Area Classification and Development Regulations, 1991 classifies the Coastal Regulatory Zone, and salt manufacture is prohibited under the regulations.
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