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Resource for Legal Action

Achievements:

  • Has succeeded over the years in ensuring that adivasis have reclaimed their land rights on about 25000 acres through legal recourse and by effective administrative decisions. The progress in the last five years shows the following results:
Year Cases taken up Successful cases Extent repossessed by adivasi families (Ac)
2008-2009 755 162 1903
2009-2010 871 281 1406
2010-2011 795 183 1018
2011-2012 608 249 1459
2012-2013 380 168 1259
2008-2013      3409 1043 7045
  • Outreached youth, students, women, panchayat representatives, local officials for legal awareness, orientation, education and training on adivasi rights issues across four adivasi populated districts in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Established credibility, so much so that the local and state administrative machinery often seek their expert guidance and suggestions. It has been instrumental for articulating relevant policies and law including Forest Guidelines under Forest Rights Recognition Act 2006, Rules under PESA Act and several circulars issued under Koneru Land Committee constituted for addressing adivasi land issues.
  • Enabled the adivasi women to seek land entitlements through conscious legal efforts remedying the inherent lacunae in both customary and statutory legal rights to claim inherited property.
  • Has produced about 24 books/booklets/edited versions, covering various aspects of governance issues pertaining to the Fifth Schedule Area under the Constitution of India.

The future role of Resource for Legal Action will be to continue its efforts in enhancing the capacities of the local community representatives in addressing deep seated issues of societal discrimination and marginalization.

RLA Unit initiated and facilitated the following actions at the State and higher levels:

  • Advocated the urgency to frame Rules under PESA Act. The Rules were finally framed in 2011.
  • Challenged the notification issued by the Government of Andhra Pradesh at the High Court for conducting auctions to give licenses to run liquor shops in the Scheduled Areas. This is against the PESA Act and attempts to override the powers of the gram sabhas.
  • Lobbied with the Tribal Welfare authorities to follow the ‘reservation’ norms in the Scheduled Areas to fill up the Teachers’ posts with Scheduled Tribe candidates as per GO Ms 3.
  • Challenged the GO Ms 76 issued by Government of Andhra Pradesh considering the major son only as a separate family unit thus ignoring the rights of a major daughter for the rehabilitation and resettlement benefit under Project Displacement.
  • Moved to resist delivery of 4000 acres of land situated in 6 hamlets of Manturu estate village in Devipatnam mandal, East Godavari District to a non-adivasi ‘inamdar’ based on an earlier District Court order.
  • Made representations to State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on the issue of compensation for the lands under Musirimilli Project, East Godavari district, thereby drawing attention to the non-implementation of Relief and Rehabilitation Package under Polavaram Project.
  • Challenged the proposal for extension of Judicial Courts to Agency areas to deal with civil matters in the Supreme Court and lobbied with the Tribal Welfare Department for continuation of executive courts which are more accessible to tribal communities as the procedures are relatively simple. The High Power Committee accepted our contention in the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India then up held the contention and ordered the continuance of the existing Agency Courts.
  • Challenged the monopoly power of Girijan Co-operative Corporation (GCC) over minor forest produce as indicated in PESA in order to empower the gram sabhas with authority to take decisions on sale of minor forest produce. The High Court permitted the adivasis’ to sell their minor forest produce outside the Scheduled Areas.

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