Parliament by section 14 (1) of the RFR Act delegated the
authority to the Central Government to “make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act”. Section 14 (2)
of the said Act lists the parameters and purposes for which the rules can be made by the Central Government. The Central Government in the exercise of such delegated
power can not enlarge the scope of the provisions of the main legislation i.e. the Act. The Central Government by defining terms like “bonafide personal needs”, “other traditional right”, “primarily reside in”, “sustainable use” etc. has gone beyond
the delegated authority.
Gram Sabha cannot be a judge its own cause and decide civil disputes between its own members in as much as all the adult members of the village constitute the Gram Sabha as per Section 2 (g) of the
Act. Secondly, the Gram Sabha would be deciding the extent of customary boundary of the village. The term “Customary boundary” in itself is vague and which would lead not only to strife inter se Gram Sabhas but would also devastate the forest areas in issue.
Reason possibly could be, each village Gram Sabha in order to out do the other, trying to take the maximum of forest produce from such unchartered imaginary boundaries.
Rule 11 (1): Inclusion of “any person wholly or substantially dependent on the family” within the term family is inconsistent with provisions of the Act. It could lead to abuse
for claiming extra benefits under the scheme of the Act.
RULE 13 & 14:-
Minor forest produce, its use and utility is just not limited or exclusive for the
residents of forest areas. The minor forest produce is an integral and a crucial component for the preservation and conservation of the flora and fauna of the area, particularly for areas which are ecologically important e.g. Sanctuaries, National Parks
etc. Similarly, is the role and importance of water bodies, the use and control of which has been handed over to the Gram Sabha. There is absence of effective mechanism to monitor the “Sustainable” exploitation of such minor forest produce and water bodies.
Keeping in view the provisions of Rule 24 in particular those of Rule 24 (3) which declares that in case of conflict between a decision of a the Gram Sabha and other usergroup e.g. forest or wildlife department, the decision of Gram Sabha shall prevail.
( Contd in the next post)