Debadityo Sinha Profile picture
Mar 29 13 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 is introduced in the Lok Sabha today. Statement of Objects- the govt is trying to prevent misinterpretation of the provisions of FCA wrt recorded forest in T.N. Godavarman judgment. #Thread on my opinion from 1st reading of the Bill (1/n)
The Bill systematically dilutes the provisions of 'Deemed Forest' in Supreme Court judgment in T.N. Godavarman, where any land which is recorded as forest in govt record required 'Forest Clearance'. Now the amendment proposes to include only those lands which are recorded as……
This is major exemption & threaten a significant area of forest land in the country, especially because majority of such recorded forest lands were originally transferred to forest dept during abolishment of Zamindari system (in 50s-70s). (3/n)
But a large chunk of such transferred land could not be notified under Indian Forest Act or the State Forest legislations because of improper demarcation & corruption in previous administration. T.N. Godavarman order safeguarded further degradation of such 'recorded forest' by……
The Bill aims to significantly exempt the requirement of 'Forest Clearance' for Recorded Forests. forests within 100 km of international border, as well as establishments for defence and paramilitary forces, public utility on forest land. (5/n)
It also exempts forest land alongside railways & roads (upto 0.10 ha), >10 ha forest land 'proposed' to be used for security infrastructure. The list of exemptions under S2 now includes 'silviculture', establishment of zoo/safari, ecotourism facilities included in Management……
Terms like ‘proposed’, ‘ecotourism facilities’, ‘any other purposes’ are too vague & can be exploited or misused for activities damaging forests & ecosystems in forest lands. It’s also settled fact that silviculture or plantations are significant threat to Indian forests. (7/n)
This promotes commercialisation of Reserve Forests & irreversible disturbance to wildlife. Its common misconception that wildlife only occurs inside Protected Areas-in certain cases, habitats & biodiversity in RFs are better in PAs. RFs also provide livelihood & ecological……
The Bill also proposes to change the short title of the Act to 'Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980'. Ctizens from non-Hindi speaking States in India may not welcome this change. Irony is that the Act & the Amendment itself is still in English language. (9/n)
The Bill is now referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee of the Parliament. which is expected to submit its report in Monsoon session (July 2023). I hope the JPC undertakes wide public consultation & recommend against any such changes which are regressive or potentially……
It is also not clear why the Minister of Environment chose to send the Bill to JPC & not Parliamentary Standing Committee. One probable reason can be that JPC is constituted based on the advice of the Minister & therefore may not give strong views against the Bill. However it is……
To conclude I must reiterate that the government is trustee of the forests & wildlife. It is also its constitutional duty to protect, improve & safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country. This amendment deviates from the protectionist approach of the FCA. (n/n)
One additional but imp comment, I missed yesterday. The Bill also proposed to exempt such forest land which is proposed for 'public utility projects' as may be specified by Centre- too wide. To understand what is public utility, @NyaayaIN……

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More from @debadityo

Mar 27
Why the Uttar Pradesh govt might have ignored Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 by capturing the Sarus Crane, translocating & now put it in captivity in Kanpur Zoo. A thread. (1/n)
#SarusCrane #BirdsOfTwitter @UPGovt @UpforestUp
The WPA allows capturing/ hunting a Sch I animal under s11 only when CWLW is satisfied that the animal is dangerous to human life or disabled or diseased beyond recovery.. that too in written order citing reasons. (2/n)
S12 allows grant of permission to capture wild animals for special purposes which includes education, sci. research, etc. Translocation to alternative habitat is allowed... All this requires written statement of reasons from CWLW.. (3/n)
Read 10 tweets
Dec 7, 2022
Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill 2022 just tabled in Rajya Sabha. The revised Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in last session-will be ineteresting to see how it gets debated in the RS. #Thread #ParliamentWinterSession
You can watch the debate here.-
Mr Vivek Tankha (INC) talking about Ecosensitive Zones ignored by the WPA Bill. Good to see the point being discussed in the parliament.
Dr Kanimozhi Somu (DMK) talking about the livelihood & cultural rights of indigenous people. Interesting to see her talking about role of different biogeographic zones & unique biodiversiry, sustainable tourism. Sadly she didnt comment anything on the Bill.
Read 39 tweets
Aug 30, 2022
The latest Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill 2022 had inserted a new proviso in s43(2) which allows the Central Govt. to prescribe Rules for transfer/ transport of ‘captive elephants’ for ‘religious or other purposes’. This thread discusses legal problems in doing that. (1/n)
Capturing any Schedule I animal (wild or captive) is prohibited activity under WPA’72, except under some extraordinary circumstances as outlined in s11 & s12. FYI- capturing any wild animal is considered as ‘hunting’ as per the WPA definition. (2/n)
S11 permits hunting when animal becomes dangerous to human life/ property or diseased/disabled beyond recovery. S12 permits capturing Sch I animals for special purposes which is mentioned in the WPA (See attached screenshot). Thus any exception can be granted only under S12 (3/n)
Read 15 tweets
Dec 17, 2021
The Env Minister @byadavbjp tabled the Biological Diversity Amendment Bill in LS, reportedly w/o public consultation. Sources said there was only an internal consultation. Attchd objective and reasons. My initial opinion on the bill in the next tweets (1/n)
The bill dilutes the restriction imposed under s3c(ii) on corporation registered in India which has any non-Indian participation as shareholder or management. Now the amendment (img2)creates a new category 'foreign controlled company' with a ref to Company Act. (2a/n)
As per Companies Act 2013- foreign companies means company incorporated outside India & contradicts the present provisions which restricts specifically companies registered in India but has participation of non-Indian. "..control of a foreigner" not defined. (2b/n)
Read 15 tweets

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