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Providing Justice to Tribals

Providing Justice to Tribals

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The Constitution of India provides several safeguards and provisions to provide justice and welfare to tribals. The enactments of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 are major steps by the Government to provide justice and welfare to the tribals.

Article 243M of the Constitution, while exempting the Fifth Schedule areas from Part IX of the Constitution, provides that Parliament may by law extend its provisions to the Scheduled and Tribal Areas subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in such law and no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment to the Constitution.

Parliament also enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) 1996. PESA extends Part IX of the Constitution with certain modifications and exceptions, to the Schedule V areas of 9 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan.

The following steps for proper implementation of PESA have been taken:

1. PESA Model Rules: Draft Model Rules for PESA have been prepared by the Government and circulated to all PESA States for framing of rules for effective implementation of PESA.

2. Guidelines of PESA: Guidelines on implementation of PESA have been issued to all nine Fifth Schedule States.

3. Visits and meetings in PESA States: Field visits have been made to PESA States. Meetings were held with officials of State Departments concerned with PESA implementation viz. Panchayati Raj, Revenue, Excise, Environment and Forest and Mining, and suggestions were made to bring relevant amendments in provisions, where required, make rules and take steps towards implementation.

4. Review meeting: A meeting was held on 5th July, 2010 with all PESA States and Central Ministries concerned to further impress the need for implementation of PESA and look for solution for constraints/impediments faced.

This information was given by Shri. Tushar A. Chaudhary, the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.