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Constitutional and Legislative Measures to Protect and Safeguard Land Rights of Scheduled Tribes

Topics covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Constitutional and Legislative Measures to Protect and Safeguard Land Rights of Scheduled Tribes


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Overview of Constitutional and Legislative Measures to Protect and Safeguard Land Rights of Scheduled Tribes.
  • For Mains: Significance, need and performance of such measures.


Context: The Scheduled Tribes (STs) have been the most marginalized, isolated and deprived population.

To protect and safeguarding the land rights and other rights of Scheduled Tribes, following constitutional and legislative measure have been put in place:

“The Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006” to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.

“Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013” (RFCTLARR Act, 2013) safeguards against displacement of Scheduled Tribes.

“The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996”, also provides that the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land in the Scheduled Areas or development projects and before resettling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas; the actual planning and implementation of the projects in the Scheduled Areas shall be coordinated at the State Level.

Constitutional provisions under Schedule – V also provide for safeguards against displacement of tribal population because of land acquisitions etc. The Governor of the State, having scheduled Areas, is empowered to prohibit or restrict transfer of land from tribals and regulate the allotment of land to members of the Scheduled Tribes in such cases. Land being a State subject, various provisions of rehabilitation and resettlement as per the RFCTLARR Act, 2013 are implemented by the concerned State Governments.

“The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987” provides for legal services to members of Scheduled Tribes.

“The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989” has been introduced to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for the trial of such offences and for the relief of rehabilitation of the victims of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Apart from the above, this Ministry being the nodal Ministry for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes, implements several schemes and programmes for upliftment and development of Scheduled Tribes in the country.


Mains Question: The Indian state has had special programmes for the Scheduled Tribes since even before Independence. Have they been successful in addressing discrimination against ST communities in India? Critically evaluate.