SC notice to Rajasthan on plea by tribal women

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New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Rajasthan’s Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police on a petition filed by 12 tribal women from Kota district for saving their dwellings from razing by a mine owner.

Issuing the notice, returnable in four weeks, an apex court vacation bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy asked the administration to “protect the well-being” of the poor tribals, some of whom were present in court.

When senior counsel Lily Isabel Thomas and Saju Jacob urged the court to direct that the demolition of the tribals’ dwellings be stopped, the bench again emphasised the words “well-being”.

Twelve ‘adivasi’ women of Julmi village moved the top court to seek its intervention in protecting their houses, located on two bighas of land, from demolition.

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The mine owner, who claims to have mining rights over the land on which the houses stand, has already razed 42 houses on another piece of land.

The petitioner’s other counsel S.K. Bandyopadhyay disputed the mine owner’s claim and said that the adivasis held ‘pattas’ (lease) of land on which their houses are constructed.

He said the aggrieved tribals have already moved the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for justice.

Three adivasi women — Anita, Rekha and Guddi Bai — who were present in the court, said the mine owner had bulldozed their ‘pipal’ tree and two temples, including one of Lord Shiva.

Lawyer Saju Jacob said after the hearing that the petitioners were totally neglected by the local administration which was indifferent to their plight.

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“Merely because they have no financial capacity, the local administration should not be under the illusion that they (poor adivasis) can’t move the Supreme Court for securing their rights,” Jacob said after the hearing.

He said the petitioners’ ancestors were brought to the desert state as bonded labourers and it were they who through their hard work had made the area green.



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