Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Tamenglong Cum District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) secretary Laishram Rina Devi on Thursday said that tribal people in Manipur face many legal issues.
Rina Devi informed the gathering that there are free legal aids available for poor and needy persons, and urged them to come forward for any legal advice and other legal related matters to the District Legal Service Authority Tamenglong.
She was speaking at the one-day legal awareness programme organised by district legal services authority Tamenglong at Shekinuh Inn Tamenglong in collaboration with the Forerunner Tamenglong. It was sponsored by Manipur State legal services authority under the aegis of national legal services authority.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Tamenglong Lamneichong Haokip, District Bar Association Tamenglong secretary Kalangaipou Riamei and District Bar Association Tamenglong vice president Daniel P Kamsuan spoke as resource persons.
In her welcome and keynote address, she narrated some of the legal issues faced by tribal people in Manipur and informed that National legal services authority has taken up various schemes to ensure access to justice to the tribal people in India.
Rina Devi further said that the access to justice would be facilitated in all its connotations including access to rights, benefits, legal aid, other legal services, etc., so that the assurance of the Constitution of justice social, economic and political, is meaning fully experienced by the tribal population in the country.
The recognition of rights of the tribal people before their displacement from Protected Areas (PAS) is not being completed, she said. The tribal people are evicted before verification and settlement of claims under the Protected Areas, she mentioned. This has caused a decline in the economic status, as well as erosion in their customary forest practices, she added.
“The incorrect assumption by the Forest departments with regard to the Protected Areas has led to violation of their legal rights. For instance, at some of the Forest departments, it was believed, contrary to the provisions of section 4 (2) of the FRA, that rights under FRA could not be claimed in Protected Areas and that FRA is not applicable in Tiger Reserves,” she said.
The rights which tribal people come to conflict with are the ‘Forest rights of Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers; The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006’, and ‘Protection of Wild Life and The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972’, she said.
Assistant Public Prosecutor, Tamenglong Lamneichong Haokip also spoke on the topic, ‘Forest rights of the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers.’
District Bar Association Tamenglong secretary Kalangaipou Riamei spoke on the topic Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 while District Bar Association Tamenglong Vice President Daniel P Kamsuan spoke on the topic, ‘Conservation of Biological Diversity.’