New Delhi, Sep 13: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat on Friday wrote a letter to Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, and rued that no senior legal representative of the Central government was present in the Supreme court to defend the Forest Rights Act.
"It is a matter of deep concern and objection that on crucial dates of the court hearing, there is no senior legal representative of the Central Government to defend the law. Yesterday, September 12, while taking up the case, the Court specifically asked whether the Solicitor General was present, but he was conspicuous by his absence", Ms Karat wrote.
The CPI(M) leader wrote the letter at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing petitions on its February 13 order, which was directed to evict more than 11 lakh tribal families and forest dwellers from forest lands in 16 states.
She also pointed out that there was no one to argue against the fresh applications moved by the petitioners against the interests of the lakhs of tribal families, who are forest dwellers.
"You will understand why after yesterday’s court hearing, there is a strong feeling of unease that the absence of top law officials is not coincidence but connivance", Ms Karat charged and added that this feeling gets strengthened when it is known that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs had specifically written to people concerned to ensure the presence of the Solicitor General.
She also said there were three applications moved by the petitioners, all of which should have been strongly opposed by the Government.
"For the last year and a half, step by step, the outrageous legal challenge to the Forest Right Act is going forward without any defence by the Central Government", she alleged.
"In a recent response to my concerns regarding the draft amendments to the Forest Act 1927, you had said that your Ministry is committed to protect the rights of tribal communities. I regret to say that this is not seen in the role of the MOEFCC in most critical issue of challenge to the Forest Rights Act in the Supreme Court case."
Ms Karat further said the next date of hearing is fixed for November 26 and hoped that Mr Javadekar will personally give it some attention, "so as to take the corrective measures". (UNI)