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Indian Environmental Laws and Buxwaha Forest

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Written by: Aman Shukla

Abstract


Planet Earth is suffering from climate change worsening the situation every year, environmentalists across the globe are trying to draw attention towards climate change. People are constantly overlooking this crisis throughout the world, and as a consequence, we are nearing a slow death in the form of climate change and global warming. ‘The report “Assessment of climate change over the India Region” shows temperatures of the warmest day and the coldest night of the year have risen by about 0.630C and 0.40C in the recent period (1986-2015) and these temperatures are projected to rise approximately by 4.70C and 5.50C, respectively, by the end of the century in business as usual (BAU) conditions.’[1]


Deforestation plays a significant role, accounting for roughly 10% of all global warming emissions. Forests are being cut down to a greater extent in the name of development, and the mankind is slowly closing all paths to restoration from such a damage, because these forests are being wiped out for a temporary benefit.


Indian Environmental Laws


The judiciary of the country has played a vital role in establishing a furnished law for the protection of the environment. The Indian constitution provides protection and improvement of the environment. Article 51A (g) casts duty on every citizen of the country to protect and improve the environment. Article 48A, on the other hand is a part of the Directive Principles of the State Policy under Chapter iv of the Constitution of India, ensures that the state should protect and safeguard forests and wildlife of the country.


Although the most important step towards the protection of environment was taken by the law was after Bhopal Gas Tragedy, as Environment Protection Act 1986. There are some acts such as The Indian Forest Act, 1927 and The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 in India to protect the environment and forests from deforestation.

  • Environment Protection Act, 1986

The Environment Protection Act came into force in all parts of India in November, 1986 the act is divided into four chapters containing 26 sections. It is a part of Article 253 of the Indian Constitution.


This act ensures protection of environment, reduction of the environmental pollution and gives authority to take strict actions against the violators. All forms of air, water, soil and noise pollution is covered under this act, it also provides safe standards for the presence of various pollutants in the environment. This act also allows central government to assign authorities in various jurisdictions to carry out the laws of this act.

There are certain section important chapters and sections of Environment Protection Act[2], which are given as follows:


Chapter II:


Section 3: Power of Central Government to take measures to protect and improve environment.

Section 6: Rules to regulate environmental pollution


Chapter III:


Section 10: Powers of entry and inspection,

Section 11: Power to take sample and procedure to be followed in connection therewith,

Section 12: Environmental laboratories, and

Section 15: Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act and the rules, orders and directions.


Chapter IV:


Section 22: Bar of Jurisdiction.


  • The Indian Forest Act, 1927

The Indian Forest Act 1927[3] is a revised legislation based on the previous forest acts. The Indian Forest act tries to consolidate the law relating to the forests, regulation of transit of the forest produce and to levy duty on timber and other forest produce.


This Act is divided into 13 chapters with a total of 86 sections. The section 2 of the Act that is the interpretation clause defines various terms that are essential in the domain of forests; starting from cattle inclusive of all the animals, the forest officer who is made in-charge by the State Government, the forest produce which includes timber, charcoal, wood-oil etc.

This act divides forests into three types:


Reserved Forests[4]: Any forest or land to which the government has the ownership is the reserved forest. These forests are dealt in the Chapter II of the act from Section 3 to 27.


Village Forests: Any forest land or other land assigned by government to the village community, it is considered as village forest. It is dealt in the Chapter III of the act under Section 28.


Protected Forests: Any land other the reserved and village forest, on which state government has proprietary rights is considered as protected forest. This is in Chapter IV of the act under Section 29.


This act is a revised comprehensive legislation enacted with the intention to deal with the lacunae in the previous acts and formulate the laws of the forest. Although the Act aimed towards the forest conservation and its forest produce duties, it failed miserably in meeting its objective. The essence of the Act was lost when the Government regained the control of these forests so that the revenue can be generated from the forest produce. Eventually, the Act could not serve its purpose.


  • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was enacted in November, 1980 and further amended in 1988. This act was formed to control the deforestation in the forests of India.


Section 2 of this act makes a provision of taking prior approval from the state government before de-reservation of any forest. This act also created the protected forest, a forest in which the use of resources by the local people was controlled. In 1992, some amendment was made in this Act which made provisions for allowing some non-forest activities in forests, without cutting trees or limited cutting with prior approval of the Central Government.


This act plays an important role in saving forest from deforestation and adequate use of forest resources without excess exploitation.


Buxwaha Forest


Country’s largest diamond reserve is in Buxwaha, according to the sources there are 3.42 crore carrots of rough diamonds in the area. Orders have been given from the authorities to extract the diamond from the area, this extraction will spread in 364 hectares in the forest and will result in cutting of approximately 2,00,000 trees.


Many social and environmental activists are struggling to stop this mass cutting of trees. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the project in Buxwaha forests, which is situated about 225 km northeast of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh’s capital.


Conclusion


Deforestation is one of major cause for the climate change and global warming, it affects the world in an unprecedented manner, whether it is uneven monsoon or rising temperature of the earth. Lack of trees are causing harm to every creature of the earth, every species dependent on the forests and trees are suffering due to selfish reasons of humans. Animals are not getting shelter, they are coerced to enter the cities, where they are either killed or captured. Every living species other human is paying for the deeds of humans.


Buxwaha Forest mining project is on those selfish needs of us humans, which is going to cause suffer to lacks of trees, wildlife present in that area. Only locals of the area and environmentalists of the country are concerned about the project, while we should have shown some concern about it.


On the other hand, under section 2 of the Forest Conservation act, it is clearly given that the de-reservation of forest cannot be done without the permission of the state, still approximately 4 lacs trees will be chopped of, the acts and laws of are country are unused, when they should actually be used to protect the wildlife and environment of the country.

[1] Editorial, “India gets its first climate change assessment report” The Times of India, June 15, 2020. [2]THE ENVIRONMENT (PROTECTION) ACT, 1986 (Act No. 29 of 1986) [3]THE INDIAN FOREST ACT, 1927 (Act No. 16 of 1927) [4]ibid.

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1 Comment


Saurav Malhotra
Saurav Malhotra
Jul 25, 2021

Very well Articulated!!

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