Central Government Notification
Legislation UpdatesRules & Regulations

On 28-06-2022, Central Government notified new rules namely, “Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022” to further carry out the protection and preservation of forests in India under Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (Act). These rules supersede the Forest Conservations Rules, 2003 and come into immediate effect.

Key Points:

  • Ensure that each State/UTs will protect and improve the forests atmosphere and put the forest land to better use. Forests can be diverted for developmental purposes such as roads, railways, plants, mining, etc. In case of such diversions, these lands are to be used according to the non-forestry manners.
  • By Compensatory Afforestation (CA), non-forest lands are diverted by user agency and are funded by State/UTs departments. [CA defined in Rule 2 (e)]
  • Section 2 of the Act imposes restrictions on ‘de-reservation’ of the forest that can be used for the non-forestry purpose. Reserved forest can be after ‘reafforestation’ and clearing can be put to ‘non-forest purpose’ after ‘final’ approval of the proposal from the Central Government under Rule 9.
  • Section 11 defines the process of Compensatory Afforestation where user agency can provide the land and the cost will be borne by Forest Department as per the fixed rates given Schedule I. These lands should be excluded from provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  • Government has made sure that the lands which are taken up for Compensatory Afforestation should bear vegetation of less than 0.4 canopy density.
  • Project Screening Committee is created by State/UT Government. The committee consisting of Nodal Officer as Chairperson will examine and assist procedures taken up under Sec. 2 of the Act.
  • Advisory Committee will be formed under Rule 3, will grant approval for-
    1. De-reservation;
    2. Principal approval of the proposal to the Central Government;
    3. Any matter connected with the conservation of forests referred to the Advisory Committee by the Central Government.

*Shubhi Srivastava, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Rajani Dubey, J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are that a tractor and trolley was found carrying illegal timber woods in Tamor Pingla Sanctuary Area, Sarguja Forest Circle, Ambikapur. The said vehicle was driven by driver and the owner of the vehicle was also present. After interrogation by the Forest Officer, an offence punishable under Sections 27, 29, 31, 50 & 52 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and Section 26 (1) (e) (f) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 was registered against the driver and owner of the said and thereafter the said vehicle including timbers was seized. Thereafter, show cause notice was given regarding confiscation of the vehicle and finding the reply unsatisfactory, confiscation order was passed. Against the said order of confiscation, the petitioner filed appeal before the respondent 2, which was dismissed, against which the petitioner filed criminal revision before the learned 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Ambikapur, District Sarguja which too was dismissed. Hence, present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the accused persons have been acquitted by the Criminal Court, thus no offence has been proved against the petitioner and therefore the proceeding of confiscation of the vehicle is illegal and arbitrary.

The Court observed that a bare reading of Section 52, Indian Forest Act, 1927 makes it clear that Forest Officer has power to confiscate the vehicle and the Competent Authority after giving show cause notice to the petitioner.

The Court observed that the  ASJ in the impugned order clearly held that criminal trial and confiscation proceedings may run simultaneously and once the information of confiscation proceeding under Section 52 (e) of the Indian Forest Act is given to the District Magistrate, then the Trial Magistrate has no power regarding confiscated vehicle of being released, disposed etc. and it has been further held that the information of confiscation proceeding was already given to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ambikapur and the accused were given ample opportunity of being heard and only thereafter the orders were passed and thereby dismissed the criminal revision of the petitioner.

The Court held “the finding of the learned ASJ that the criminal trial and confiscation proceeding are different proceedings and they may run simultaneously and even after acquittal of the accused persons, the vehicle was found to be involved in transportation of illegal timbers and the same was liable to be confiscated and the accused were given ample opportunity of being heard, is based on proper appreciation of provisions of law and facts as well, which cannot be interfered with by this Court.”

[Gend Lal Kushwaha v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 617, decided on 01-04-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that not be appropriate to permit the use of Jaipur’s famous Sisodia Rani ka Bagh to hold various functions during the night after 8.00 P.M.

The historical Monument, which is situated at the outskirts of Jaipur in forest area, was built in the year 1728 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. It was declared as a protected Monument on 1.5.2012 by Department of Archaeology and Museums of Rajasthan and work for restoration, as per principles of conservation, was started. During the last five years, the expenditure of approximately Rs.170 lacs has been incurred on conservation, restoration, and development of Mahal and Garden. Around 100 tourists visit the Monument every day. The visitor timings are from 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M.  The fountain inside the Garden and the dynamic coloured lights highlighting the elements of the Mahal are operated from 6.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M. The monument was also used for earning the revenue by organising various functions.

On 5.11.2014, the National Green Tribunal, Central Zonal, Bhopal held that the Monument is part of the forest area and directed that no permission should be granted to organise social functions like marriages, etc. and for the use of fireworks, loud music in the Monument.

Aggrieved by the said order, it was argued before the Supreme Court that putting a blanket ban upon holding of ceremonies in the Monument, situated adjacent to the city. The prohibition imposed shall adversely affect State tourism and would render the entire Monument of no use, and its upkeep would be difficult.

The Court, agreeing with the said argument, held that the blanket ban imposed by the Tribunal was not called for as area can be used for appropriate functions and for holding events to attract tourists. No inconvenience is going to be caused in the area considering the situation of Monument.

The Court noticed that the Monument is adjacent to Jaipur-­Agra highway, it has historical importance and is entirely enclosed by a pakka structure. It does not disturb the forest area though the Monument may be recorded as forest. It, hence, held,

“It would not be appropriate to permit the use of the Monument to hold various functions during the night after 8.00 P.M. The tourist timings are 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. During that time, considering the importance of the historical Monument and it is in encircled structure by wall and its potentiality there cannot be any objection for its being used for multipurpose appropriate activities. At the same time, there is in place a noise restriction, the same has to be strictly observed.”

The Court, hence, directed:

  • The Monument may be used for appropriate multi­purpose activities between 8.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. only. No activity to be permitted after 8.00 P.M.
  • The use of laser lights, loud music, and fireworks is ordered to be completely restrained.
  • Musical and other fountains to be maintained and to be kept in working order.
  • Other conditions imposed by the Department be observed strictly.
  • Requisite supervisory and other staff/gardeners, etc. be dedicated to maintain and look after the area.
  • A Consultant be appointed for further beautification of the area and requisite horticultural development and an additional project plan be prepared and placed on record.

[Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Jaipur v. Ashish Gautam, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 452 , decided on 11.05.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A special bench of Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan, JJ has asked the State of Maharashtra not to cut any further trees till the next date of hearing. The Special Bench was constituted to hear the plea against the cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey colony for the city’s metro rail project after a group of law students wrote to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi seeking Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter and the cutting of trees to be suspended immediately.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Maharashtra had submitted before the Court that they are not going to cut any further trees till the next date of hearing. , However, in the circumstances, the Court responded,

“the statement is quite fair.”

SG also submitted that the activists who had been arrested have been released and that in case anybody has not been released so far, he/she be released immediately on furnishing personal bond. On this the Court directed,

“Let the statement made be carried out in pith and substance.”

The Court, hence, directed that the matter be heard by the Forest Bench on 21st October, 2019, as the said Bench is hearing the matter pertaining to the similar issues in T.N. Godhavarman’s case.

The Bombay High Court on Friday had rejected four petitions challenging the Mumbai civic body’s Tree Committee order approving the cutting of trees in the colony to make space for Mumbai Metro’s car shed in the area. Authorities in Mumbai, in a midnight move on Friday, began cutting trees after the Bombay High Court order. 29 people have been arrested for protesting against the move and were sent to judicial custody. Many other were were reportedly detained. The activists say cutting trees at Aarey Colony is illegal.

[In re: Felling of trees in Aarey Forest (Maharashtra), 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1322, 07.10.2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A special bench of Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan, JJ has been constituted to hear the plea against the cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey colony for the city’s metro rail project. The bench will sit tomorrow during the Dussehra break to hear the matter urgently after a group of law students wrote to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi seeking the top court’s intervention in the matter and the cutting of trees to be suspended immediately.

The Bombay High Court on Friday had rejected four petitions challenging the Mumbai civic body’s Tree Committee order approving the cutting of trees in the colony to make space for Mumbai Metro’s car shed in the area. Authorities in Mumbai, in a midnight move on Friday, began cutting trees after the Bombay High Court order. 29 people have been arrested for protesting against the move and were sent to judicial custody. Many other were were reportedly detained. The activists say cutting trees at Aarey Colony is illegal.

The Court will assemble tomorrow at 10:00 AM to hear the matter.

(With inputs from NDTV)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: After the Centre sought stay on the order which directed the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribals and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states on February 13, 2019, the Court has put a stay on the said order and has asked the concerned States to submit details of the process adopted to access the claims under the  Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

The matter will next be taken up on July 10, 2019.

(Source: ANI)
Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: After the Court ordered the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribals and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states on February 13, 2019, it has agreed to hear the plea of the Central Government seeking stay on the order.

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, JJ had, on February 13, 2019, directed the Chief Secretaries of all the 16 States to

“ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.”

The court’s orders came in a case filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners had also demanded that all those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the law should be evicted by state governments as a consequence.

The Forest Rights Act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as some wildlife groups and naturalists.

Tribal groups contend that their claims have been rejected systematically in some states and need to be reviewed. In several states there have been reports on administrations going particularly slow on even accepting community-level claims.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Supreme Court has ordered the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribals and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states after the government failed to defend the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, JJ directed the Chief Secretaries of all the 16 States to

“ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.”

It also asked the Chief Secretaries to indicate, by way of an affidavit, as to why after the rejection of the claims, which have attained finality, eviction has not been made. The next date of hearing is set for July 24, 2019.

The court’s orders came in a case filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners had also demanded that all those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the law should be evicted by state governments as a consequence.

The Forest Rights Act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as some wildlife groups and naturalists.

Tribal groups contend that their claims have been rejected systematically in some states and need to be reviewed. In several states there have been reports on administrations going particularly slow on even accepting community-level claims.

[Wildlife First v. Ministry of Forest and Environment, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 238, order dated 13.02.2019]

(With inputs from Business Standard)