Rehabilitation of Tribals

1. The National Human Rights Commission (Investigation Division) in its report submitted in August 2008 stated that at that time altogether approximately 40,000 tribals were living in 23 relief camps functioning in Dantewada and Bijapur Districts of Chhattisgarh. It was stated that even as on today i.e. the date of this judgment, 23 relief camps were functioning but the number of tribals living in those relief camps has substantially come down. The Court observed that it is the constitutional duty and obligation of the State to facilitate the return of the tribals living in those camps to their respective villages.

Directions: The Court directed the State Government to file a comprehensive affidavit duly stating the details of the action plan for disbanding/winding up of these relief camps so that the tribals living in these camps go back to their respective villages.

2. Shri Ashok Desai, learned Senior Counsel submitted that the Government provided compensation and other relief and rehabilitation in a selective manner ignoring victims of violence at the hands of Salwa Judum. The learned counsel submitted that all the victims of conflict are to be treated equally and the State cannot discriminate between the victims of violence whether they are the victims of Naxalite violence or Salwa Judum violence.

However, in the affidavit filed by the State, it was stated that the State Government has been reviewing and monitoring the relief, rehabilitation and compensation given to the “victims of violence”.

Directions: The Court observed that in the circumstances, it will be proper to direct the State Government and the Rehabilitation Committee to file a comprehensive affidavit providing the details of the relief and rehabilitation provided to the victims of conflict.

3. So far as the school buildings, educational institutions and hostels occupied by the security forces in the State of Chhattisgarh are concerned, it was stated that effective steps were being taken for vacating those buildings and the process had already begun.

Directions: The Court directed the Union of India and the State of Chhattisgarh to ensure that the security forces vacate all the educational institutions, school buildings and hostels within a period of four months from today.

Bench regarding Recusal: During the course of hearing, Justice B. Sudershan Reddy informed all the counsel appealing in the matter that an anonymous letter has been received expressing reservation as to whether the Bench could hear the matter since one of the Judges happened to be a member of PUCL. On verification it was realised that an interlocutory application seeking impleadment in one of the writ petitions has been filed by PUCL and the same was pending. Shri Gopal Subramanium, learned Solicitor General, Shri Ashok Desai, learned Senior Counsel appealing for the petitioners as well as Shri Harish Salve, learned Senior Counsel, in one voice stated that none of the parties has any objection whatsoever for hearing of these petitions by this Bench.

See the following judgment: Nandinisundar & Ors. v. State of Chhattisgarh (Supreme Court of India, 2011)

Author: Vikrant Narayan Vasudeva
Photo by Rajkumar1220/ CC BY 2.0