Explain stand on GO 140 over Podu lands in two days: HC to government

September 21, 2022 09:00 pm | Updated 09:00 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Telangana High Court on Wednesday gave two days to State government to explain its stand in a writ petition challenging GO 140 constituting District Level Committees with political representatives to confirm rights on Podu cultivation lands for dwellers.

Three persons belonging to Scheduled Tribes from Bhadradri Kothagudem district filed the writ petition by moving lunch motion seeking a direction to suspend the GO issued by the Scheduled Tribes department of the State government. Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy of the HC, after hearing the contentions of counsel for the petitioners, declined to pass orders suspending the GO without hearing the contentions of the government.

He directed Special Government Pleader Sanjeev Kumar to secure instructions on the matter from the government within two days. The three ST persons from Tadikalapudi village of Tekulapalli mandal, Tejavath Shankar, Bhukya Meetya and Lavudya Anjee, claimed that they had been cultivating Podu lands in forest area admeasuring five acres, four acres and five acres respectively for past several years.

They stated in the plea that their family members were depending on cultivation of these lands for livelihood. They applied to the State government for rights over the said lands under the provisions of Forest Rights Act-2006. Meanwhile, the Central government framed Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules-2008. The petitioners contended that the GO 140 issued by the ST department of the State government facilitated inclusion of political representatives in the District Level Committees to confirm rights over Podu lands to the dwellers.

The petitioners contended that the State government had no right or jurisdiction to issue the said GO providing for inclusion of political representatives in the DLCs. This would adversely affect the interests of persons claiming rights over Podu lands, they said.

After hearing the contentions of the petitioners, the judge directed the government counsel to secure instructions on the matter within two days.

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