The Indian Forest Act, 1927 aimed to regulate the movement of forest produce, and the duty leviable on forest produce. This act has details of what a forest offence is, what are the acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest, and penalties leviable on violation of the provisions of the Act. After the Forest Act was enacted in 1865, it was amended twice (1878 and 1927). The penalties and procedures given in this Act aimed to extend the state’s control over forests as well as diminishing the status of people’s rights to forest use. The village communities were alienated from their age-old symbiotic association with forests. Further amendments were also made to restrain the local use of forests mainly by forest-dependent communities.
TYPES OF FORESTS
Degree of protection
Reserved forests > Protected forests > Village forests
Forest Settlement Officer
The Forest Settlement Office is appointed, by the State government, to inquire into and determine the existence, nature and extent of any rights alleged to exist in favour of any person in or over any land comprising a Reserved forest. He/she is empowered even to acquire land over which right is claimed.
To speed up resolution of forest-related violations -the amendments are aimed at decriminalising “relatively minor violations” of law. The amendments seek to decriminalise offences like kindling, keeping or carrying fire in a reserved forest without permission, trespassing or pasturing cattle or causing any damage by negligence in felling any tree in a reserved forest. They also seek to decriminalise acts like leaving a burning fire kindled by the person in the vicinity of any tree reserved under Section 30, or felling any tress or dragging timber to damage any reserved tree, or permitting cattle to damage such tree. The offences were earlier punishable with imprisonment for a term which could even extend to six months, a penalty that the Environment Ministry now seeks to remove.
This would help in:
However, there are the following concerns associated: