SIC orders pro-active disclosure of information regarding land claims to tribals
After the passing of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in 2006, the tribals in Thane district of Maharashtra were assured that they would get the right to own and cultivate the land they stayed on.
However, they were provided them with titles for only a part of their land which prompted around 6,000 tribals to file an application with the Department of Revenue under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to know why they were allowed only partial claim on the land they were entitled to. Nearly half of them filed appeals with the first appellate authority and finally representatives from 10 villages approached the State Information Commission (SIC).
The SIC, in its order, has directed the department to provide the information to the tribals and also issued show cause notice to the PIO as to why penalty proceedings should not be initiated against him. The SIC also ordered that the details of the claims be displayed suo motu on notice boards and on the department’s website under Section 4 of the RTI Act. The tribals were given a helping hand by a movement run by local activist Milind Thatte, Vayam.