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Module 1: Protección forestal

    Study Reminders

    Forests and Their ManagementDr. Ankur AwadhiyaDepartment of BiotechnologyIndian Institute of Technology, KanpurModule – 06 Forest ProtectionLecture – 18Forest law[FL]. Any discussion of Forest Protection is incomplete without Forest Law. Forest law is something that gives us the strength to protect the forest and, in our country, we have three major laws – the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act 1980, that provide us with the strength to protect the forest. And, in today’s lecture, we will have a look at all three of these Acts and the major provisions that they have for the protection of forests. (Refer Slide Time: 00:49) So, let us now begin with the Indian Forest Act, 1927.(Refer Slide Time: 00:51) To understand any act, we have to go to the preamble of this act. So, this Act is Act 16 of 1927 – “An Act to consolidate the law relating to forests, the transit of forest-produce and the duty leviable on timber and other forest-produce.” So, what is the purpose of this act? This Act is to consolidate the provisions that we have relating to forest, transit of forest-produce and the duty leviable on timber and other forest-produce. So, essentially when this Act was made it was in India was under the control of the Britishers, and this Act was made with a purpose to reserve certain forest; to reserve certain forest produce, for the convent. “Whereas it is expedient to consolidate the law relating to forests, the transit of forest-produce and the duty leviable on timber and other forest-produce; it is hereby enacted as follows.”(Refer Slide Time: 01:57)So, what are the major provisions that we have in this act? (Refer Slide Time: 02:01) So, we have we begin with the short title and extent followed by the interpretation clause. Now, Section 2 of a number of Act gives you the definitions of different terms that are used in the act. So, in this case, we can see that what is a forest-officer? Any person whom the State Government or any office empowered by the State Government in this behalf may appoint to carry out all or any of the provisions of this Act is a forest?officer.(Refer Slide Time: 02:29) What is the forest-offense? So, when we talk about protection, we have to talk about the forest-offense. A forest-offense is defined as an offense that is punishable under this act,or any or under any rule that is made they are under that is under this act. So, if there is an offense that is punishable under this act, you will call it a forest-offense. What is the forest-produce? So, it categorizes different categories of forest-produce the following whether found in a forest or brought for from a forest or not. So, when we say or not what this act is saying is that, whether it is these things are found in a forest or whether these are not found in the forest; whether these are brought from the forest or whether these are brought from any other place, will if we have these items we will call them a forest-produce and what are these? Timber, charcoal, catechu, wood-oil, resin, natural varnish and so on. So, if you find these items anywhere, it is a forest-produce and the act is applicable on these. But, in these things the following when found in a forest; so, if these if this lists the items that are in this list, if they are found in the forest or if they are brought from a forest only then, we will call them a forest-produce. But if these are brought from any other area, if you are growing them in your house and you are able to prove that, then this is not a forest produce.(Refer Slide Time: 04:03) And, what does this list contain? Trees and leaves, flowers and fruits and all other parts or produce not herein before mentioned, of trees, Plants that are not trees; including grasses, creepers, reeds and moss, all parts orproduce of such plants, Wild animals and skins, tusks, horn, bones, silk cocoon, honey, wax and other things, Peat, surface soil, rocks, minerals and so on. So, these are a forest-produce only when these are either found in the forest or are these or these are being brought from the forest.(Refer Slide Time: 04:46) Now, what is tree? What is timber? Now, timber is defined as trees when they have fallen or have been felled, and all the wood whether it is cut up or fashioned or hollowed out for any purpose or not; which means that timber is all sorts of trees and all sorts of materials that are that have been derived from these trees; whether they have been processed or not, we will call them as timber. What is the tree? Now, tree includes palm,bamboos, skumps, brush-wood, canes. Now, later on within amendment bamboos was brought out of this list. So, bamboo is now no longer considered to be a tree. Now, what are the powers of the government? The government has a power to reserve aforest.(Refer Slide Time: 05:30) So, the government can reserve a forest, and what is the process and what kinds of lands can be reserved? The State Government may constitute any forest-land. Now, this any forest land is something that you have defined in the Godavarman case that the Supreme Court has defined in the Godavarman case. So, a forest land includes all lands that have forests or all lands that have been described as a forest in some document. So, the State Government may constitute any forest-land or waste-land, which is the property of the government, or over which the government has proprietary rights; that is rights over the property, or to the whole or any part of the forest-produce of which thegovernment is entitled, a reserve forest in the manner hereinafter provided. So, what kinds of lands can be made into a reserved forest? You can make any forest land into a reserved forest, or any waste-land into a forest into a reserved forest, or any land that over proprietary rights to the whole or to the part of the forest produce. So, if you have any forest-land or any wasteland which is the government property, you can directly convert it into a reserved forest.(Refer Slide Time: 07:05)The process is given in the later article, in the later sections. You have a notification by the state government; you declare which are the areas that are going to be constituted into the reserve forest; you specify the limits of this land; you appoint a forest settlement officer. (Refer Slide Time: 07:08) Then, there is a bar on accrual of forest right. So, once you have issued a notification under Section 4, no rights shall be acquired in or over the land comprised in such notification, except by succession or under a grant or contract in writing made or entered into by or on behalf of the government and so on. Then, there is Proclamation and Inquiry.(Refer Slide Time: 07:31) Next, you have the powers of the forest settlement-officers, now this is important. Now,if you have a forest settlement-officer; what this forest settlement knowing is that once the government has come up with a notification that we are going to constitute these lands into a reserved forest, then this forest officer is going to make a note of who all are living in this area, who all are having rights in this area, and then is going to process these rights as this provided in the act. So, to note down these rights and to process these rights, the forest settlement-officer is given certain powers. For the purpose of such inquiry, the forest settlement-officer may exercise the following powers that is to say, power to enter, by himself or any officer authorized by him for the purpose, upon any land; so, he can get inside any land, he can survey, demarcate or make a map of any land; and, he has the powers of a civil court in the trial of suits. (Refer Slide Time: 08:36) Then, there is an extinction clause that certain rights will be extinguished using undercertain circumstances, then a record will be made and so on. (Refer Slide Time: 08:53) Now, let us move into the other clauses of protection. Once the government has declared a land as the reserved forest, no right shall be acquired over the reserved forest except as here provided. So, once you have made this land into a reserved forest, now no rights can be acquired, except as under provided in this act.(Refer Slide Time: 09:17) Now, in this area there; Section 25 says “power to stop ways and watercourses in the reserve forest. The forest officer may with the previous sanction of the State Government or any or of any officer duly authorized by it in this behalf, stop any public or private way or water-course in a reserved forest, provided that a substitute for the way of water?course so stopped, which the State Government deems to be reasonably convenient,already exists, or has been provided or constructed by the forest officer in lieu thereof.” So, now what we are saying is that the forest settlement-officer has the power to stop any way - that is to stop any road or to stop any waterway provided that an alternative is provided to the people. So, this is another power of the forest settlement-officer. (Refer Slide Time: 10:21)Next, we have acts that are prohibited in such forest; so, acts that are prohibited in the reserved forest, what are the acts? “Any person who makes a fresh clearing prohibited by Section 5,” or “sets fire to a reserved forest, or in contravention of any rules made by the State Government in this behalf, kindles any fire, or leaves any fire burning, in such manner as to endanger such a forest.” So, what we are saying is that, in different areas in areas that are there in Section 5 or those that have been declared as a reserved forest, there are different things that are now prohibited. Making of a fresh clearing is prohibited; setting of a fire is prohibited;kindling of any fire leaving; any fire burning is prohibited or who in a reserved forest kindles keeps or carries any fire, except as such seasons as the forest officer may notify. So, now in the case of a reserved forest, people may not even keep or carry any fire which means that, if you are entering into this these reserved forest, you have to be extra careful because these are now reserved, or “trespasses or pastures cattle, or permits cattle to trespass” – you cannot permit your cattle to enter into a reserved forest, or“causes any damage by negligence in felling any tree or cutting or dragging any timber” – you cannot damage these trees, or “fells, girdles, lops, or burns any tree or strips of the bark or leaves from, or otherwise damages the same;” all of these are prohibited. (Refer Slide Time: 11:57) Or “quarries stone, burns lime or charcoal, or collects, subjects to any manufacturing process, or removes, any forest-produce.” (Refer Slide Time: 12:05)Or, “clears or breaks up any land for cultivation or for any other purpose.” So, breaking up of land is prohibited. “In contravention of any rules made in this behalf by the State Government -hunts, shoots, fishes, poisons water or sets traps or snares;” that is also prohibited. Or, “in an area in which the Elephant Preservation Act 1879, is not in force, kills or catches elephants in contravention of any rules so made, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both. In addition to such compensation for damage done to the forest as the convicting court may direct to be paid.” So, all of theseactivities are forest offenses under this act. (Refer Slide Time: 12:58) Next, the government can also make village forest under Section 28. The State Government may make rules for regulating the management of village forest.(Refer Slide Time: 13:09) Or the government can declare protected forest under Section 29. So, what is the difference between a protected forest and a and a reserved forest? A protected forest is typically a very quick action in which the government says that these forests will be protected; and then they become protected forests. But in the case of a reserve forest, the process is very intricate. So, there is a forest settlement-officer who inquires into the rights of different people, settles those rights, extinguishes certain rights and then after the whole process is done, you have a reserved forest. (Refer Slide Time: 13:46)Now, the Government, under Section 30, has the power to issue notification reserving trees etcetera. The State Government may, by notification in the official gazette, “declare any trees or class of trees in a protected forest to be reserved from a date fixed by, the notification.” So, the Government cannot only declare a forest as a protected forest; but inside a protected forest, the Government can also declare that certain trees or classes of trees are reserved. Or, the government can “declare that any portion of such forest is specified in the notification shall be closed for such term, not exceeding thirty years, as the State Government thinks fit, and that the rights of private persons, if any, over such portion shall be suspended during such terms, provided that the remainder of such forest be sufficient, and in a locality reasonably convenient, for the do exercise of the right suspended in the portion so closed.” So, the government can reserved trees in a protected forest, or the government can say that a certain portion of the protected forest is now closed; when we say closed, it means it is closed for grazing; but the government will ensure that that the rights of the people are protected by providing certain alternatives. (Refer Slide Time: 15:17) Or the government can “prohibit, from a date fixed as aforesaid, the quarrying of stone, burning of lime or charcoal, or collection or subjection to any manufacturing process, or removal of any forest-produce in any such forest, or the breaking up or clearing for cultivation, for building, for herding cattle or for any other purpose, of any land in such forest.” So, even inside a protected forest, the Government can issue a notification that will say that these activities are also prohibited in the protected forest. So, they also become a forest-offense. (Refer Slide Time: 16:58) Next, we have Penalties. Penalties are given in Section 33. “Penalties for acts in contravention of notification under Section 30 or of rules under Section 32.” (Refer Slide Time: 16:13)Any person who commits any of the following offenses namely: “fells, girdles, lops, taps or burns any tree reserved under Section 30, or strips offthe bark or leaves from, or otherwise damages, any such tree.” Or, “contrary to any prohibition under Section 30, quarries any stone, burns any lime or charcoals or collects, or subjects to any manufacturing process, or removes any forest-produce.” Or, “contrary to any prohibition under Section 30, breaks up or clears for cultivation or any for any other purpose any land in any protected forest.” Or, “sets fire to such forest, or kindles of a fire without taking all reasonable precautions to prevent its spreading to any tree reserved under Section 30, whether standing fallen or felled, or to say closed portion of such forest.” (Refer Slide Time: 17:07) “Leaves any leaves burning any fire kindled by him in the vicinity of any such tree or closed portion” Or, “fells any tree or drags any timber so as to damage any tree reserved as aforesaid” Or, “permits cattle to damage any tree,” or “infringes any rule made under Section 32”So, now all of these are also forest-offenses. And, the act now says that all these things “shall be punishable for with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months,or with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.” So, all of these are also prohibited activities and penalties have been have been designated for these prohibited activities. And, “whenever fire is caused wilfully or by gross negligence in a protected forest, theState Government may, not with withstanding that any penalty has been inflicted under this section, direct that in such forest or any portion thereof the exercise of any right of pasture or to forest-produce shall be suspended for such period as it thinks fit.” So, essentially in the case of a reserved forest, all the rights are reserved for theGovernment. In the case of a protected forest, certain rights are left for the people; but then, if the people carry out any activity in which you have a fire that is caused either wilfully or because of gross negligence, then the government may suspend the rights of the people for grazing, collection of non-timber forest-produce and so on. So, thus act is making known to us what are the offenses; what are the forest-offenses, and what are the penalties for them. (Refer Slide Time: 18:57) Next that says Section 35, PROTECTION OF FOREST FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES. So, this is now again another power of the Government because of this act. “The State Government may, by notification in the official gazette, regulate or prohibit in any forest or waste-land.” Now, remember that earlier we were talking about forest or waste-land that for the government property for the making of the reserved forest; but, now what we are saying is regulate or prohibit in any forest or waste-land. “the breaking up or clearing of land for cultivation, pasturing of cattle, firing or clearing of vegetation,” when such regulation of prohibition appears necessary for the following purposes. (Refer Slide Time: 19:41) Now, these purposes are public purposes.Protection against storm, wind, rolling stones, floods, avalanches. Preservation of soil on the ridges and slopes and in the valley of hill tracts, the prevention of land slips or of the formation of ravines, and torrents, or the protection of land against erosion, or deposit thereon of sand, stones and gravel. For the maintenance of a water-supply in spring, rivers, tanks. Protection of roads, bridges, railways and other lines of communication, or For the preservation of public health. Now, what we are saying here is that, because the forests are having a number of ecological functions that are providing us a number of direct and indirect benefits; so, for these benefits the government may say that. in any forest or in any waste-land, these activities are prohibited for these particular reasons. So, this is now another power of the State Government. “The State Government may, for such purpose, construct at its own expense, in or upon any forest or waste-land, such work as it thinks fit.” So, now, this section is givingpower to the government to do certain activities, as it thinks fit for these purposes. “No notification shall be made under sub-section 1 nor shall any work be begun under sub-section 2, until after the issue of a notice to the owner of such forest or land calling on him to show cause, within a reasonable period to be specified in such notice,why such notification should not be made or work constructed, as the case may be, and until his objections, if any. And, any evidence he may produce in support of the same,have been heard by an officer duly appointed in that behalf and have been considered by the State Government.” (Refer Slide Time: 21:31) So, now this subset this section is now also putting up the rider that, before any such notices any such order is issued, the person who is having the forest will be given a chance to show cause within a reasonable period of time that we are going to do this to your forest; and if you have any objections, you should show cause why you have these objections and why we should not do this. (Refer Slide Time: 22:05) Now, under Section 36, the government has the “Power to assume the management of forest. In case of neglect of, or wilful disobedience to, any regulation or prohibition under Section 35, or if the purposes of any work to be-constructed under there that sections who require, the State Government may, after notice in writing to the owner of such forest or land and after considering his objections, if any, place the same under the control of a forest-officer, and may declare that all that all or any or of the provisions of this Act relating to reserved forest; now, when the word here it is reserved forest, shall apply to such forest or land, and the net profits, if any, arising from the management of such forest or land shall be paid to the said owner.” Now, under Section 36, the government is assuming the management of certain forest, if the person who is having the forest or is the owner of such forest, is not doing things that are proper in the view of the government. So, under these circumstances, the government can assume the management of the forest; all the provisions of the reserved forest shall apply to the such land; all those things that are prohibited in a reserved forest shall automatically become prohibited in these forests, if the government so declares. And, when the management is done, if thereis any profit so, the net profits so that is the gross profit minus the cost of management,will be paid to the owner. (Refer Slide Time: 23:43) Then the government can also do “Protection of forest at the request of owners. The owner of any land or, if there is there are more than one owners thereof, the owners of shares therein amounting in aggregate at least two-thirds thereof may, with a view to the formation or conservation of forests thereon, represent in writing to the Collector theirdesired - that such land be managed on their behalf by the forest-officer as a reserved or a protected forest on such terms as may be mutually agreed upon.” (Refer Slide Time: 24:15)Or “that all or any of the provisions of this act we applied to such land, and in either case, the State Government may, by notification the Official Gazette, apply to such land the such provisions of this Act as it thinks suitable to the circumstances thereof and as may be desired by the applicants.” So, what the section is saying is that the, if the owner of the forest request thegovernment that they want the government to protect their forests on their behalf, then the Government may even take action and protect those forests on behalf of the owners. So, that is also another option that is available with the government for the private forests. (Refer Slide Time: 24:56) Now, other powers of the government include the “Power to impose duty on timber and other forest produce.” Now, why is a duty important? It is not only a source of revenue;but also, because when you are when you are putting a duty on timber and forest?produce, in that case, you will be setting up depots, and any moment of timber or forest?produce shall become regulated automatically. So, people will have to come up with paperwork; people will have to come up with proofs, if they have to move timber or forest-produce from one place to another place, and this is a very good mechanism to enforce the protection of forests. So, if there is a forest from which timber of forest-produce are being extracted illegally; so, the this mechanism of duties and are and in centres for collecting these duties, will ensure the protection, and will ensure that people are not taking out forest or other foresttimber or other forest-produce illegally from the forest. (Refer Slide Time: 26:01) (Refer Slide Time: 26:08) Next, the government has “the power to make rules to regulate the transit of forest?produce,” and in this case, the government can “prescribe the routes by which alone timber or or other forest produced may be imported, exported or moved in, from or within the state.” So, now, the government can say you can move your timber, but only on these routes; because only on these routes, we will have to check whether you are having the permits or not; or whether or not you are paying the duties; and on the other routes, we there will not be a necessity to check your timber, because if you are taking it on any other routes, then you are automatically committing a forest-offense. The government may “prohibit the import or export or moving without a pass.” Now, in this case, what we issue is known as a transit pass or a TP. Now, this transit pass contains details about where this material is taken from and where this material is moving. So, at every location you will have to get your transit pass certified. (Refer Slide Time: 27:20) So, what is happening is that, suppose you are taking your forest-produce from this location, and you have; so, you are moving your forest-produce like this, from location A to location B. Now, in this case, suppose you have three places where the these transit passes will be checked by the government or by the forest officials. So, essentially if you are saying that I am cutting these trees and I am going to grow a palm plantation; so, is that permitted? Answer is no,because a growing of a palm plantation is a non-forestry activity under this act.(Refer Slide Time: 58:38) (Refer Slide Time: 58:40)(Refer Slide Time: 59:06) Or any other purpose other than re-afforestation, but does not include any work relating to or ancillary to conservation, development and management of forest and wildlife namely; so, certain activities are permitted and these are establishment of check-posts,fire lines, wireless communication, construction of fencing, bridges, culverts, dams, waterholes, trench marks, boundary marks, pipelines or other like purposes. And, the contravention is very simple, the penalty for the contravention is very simple. Section 3A whoever contravenes or abets the contravention of any of the provisions of Section 2, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment, for a period which may extend to 15 days. Just 15 days of simple imprisonment; but just because the scope of this act is very wide so, this has been extremely effective in protecting our forests, because it stops the official conversion or official handing over of forest for non-forest purposes. So, in today’s lecture, we had a look at three acts of forest protection. We looked at the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act 1980, and especially those provisions that are helping us to protect our forests. So, that is all for today. Thank you for your attention [FL].