“This Court is of the view that merely because, the petitioners’ ancestors were originally residing in the forest, thereafter, some areas have been acquired, the entire area have been declared as Reserved Forest in the year 1926 and now the petitioners who are residing somewhere else, the petitioners cannot claim any right under the said Act, without establishing the fact that they solely depend on the forest or forest land for bona fide livelihood needs.” The court observed in the case of AC Murugesan and others v. The District Collector and others.
The petitioners here in the instant case challenged the eviction notice which was served to them on the ground that the land was not forest land. Although it was dismissed by the single bench. An appeal was filed which was also dismissed. The parties then filed a Special Leave Petition. The Supreme Court dismissed the SLP but gave liberty to the parties to claim rights under the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners were claiming relief under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
Justice N Satish Kumar also agreed with an earlier view taken by the division bench where it was held that bonafide livelihood included ploughing, irrigation, and planting for livelihood, but not for commercial exploitation of the land.