Karnataka to declassify deemed forests

  • IASbaba
  • November 20, 2020
  • 0
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Karnataka to declassify deemed forests

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environemnt

In news

  • Recently, Karnataka Forest Minister announced that the state government would soon declassify 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests in the state (nearly 67%) and hand it over to Revenue authorities.
  • The issue of deemed forests is a contentious one in Karnataka, with legislators often alleging that large amounts of agriculture and non-forest land are “unscientifically” classified as such.

Important value additions 

  • While the concept of deemed forests has not been clearly defined in any law including the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, the Supreme Court in the case of T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) accepted a wide definition of forests under the Act.
  • “The word ‘forest’ must be understood according to its dictionary meaning. 
  • According to the Supreme Court, this description covers all statutorily recognised forests, whether designated as reserved, protected or otherwise under Forest Conservation Act.
  • “The term ‘forest land’ occurring in Section 2 of the Act will not only include ‘forest’ as understood in the dictionary sense, but also any areas recorded as forest in the government record irrespective of the ownership.
  • The provisions enacted in the Forest Conservation Act 1980 for the conservation of forest and related matters must apply clearly to all forests.

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