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CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS/LAWS/RULES/JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS

In order to ensure that natural resources are conserved in a judicious manner and its exploitation shall have no adverse impact on the environment, a large number of Acts have been enacted over a period of time by the Central and State Government.

The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. It deals with matter such as rule of law in relation to the power structure, allocation and manner of exercise of powers. However, in the Indian Constitution, the seeds of a healthy environment could be seen in Article 47, which directs the State ‘to improve the living standard of living and public health’. A provision has been inserted in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 48-A), which declares that ‘the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’

A brief summary is given as hereunder of important Acts, which are invoked/ referred to frequently by the Department.

NAGALAND FOREST ACT, 1968

This is the main Act, which is referred to for management of Government forests under Government control. This Act is applicable to the whole state since 1st April, 1968 (the day it was published in Nagaland Gazette). It has classified Forest Officer/ Forest Produce. The Act has 11 (eleven), Chapters. The issues dealt in different chapters are as follows;

Chapter 1Preliminary (Defines cattle, forest officers, forest produce, timber, tree etc).
Chapter 2

Reserved Forests (Notification, proclamation by forest settlement of claims, appeal against the settlement, final notification, extinction of the rights, acts prohibited by the Act like fire, felling, girdling, etcetera, poisoning and quarrying).

Chapter 3

Village Forests (any land at the disposal of the Government as Village forest for the benefit of the community, regulations etc),

Chapter 4

General Protection of forest and forest produce (reserving any tree and its protection, protection of unsettled forests),

Chapter 5

Control over the forest and waste land not being the property of The Government (breaking or clearing, preservation of soil, public health, maintenance of water supply, power to assumed the management of the forest in case of willful negligence)

Chapter 6

Control of forest produce in transit (import, export, transit, River raft, transit in water or land, revenue stations, penalties, etc).

Chapter 7

Collection of drift, stranded and other timber (certain kinds of Timber to be deemed the property of the Government until the title is proved thereto, claims and disposal.

Chapter 8Penalties and procedure (seizure of property, release of the same on furnishing the bond, court to settled the confiscation, punishment of wrongful seizure, power to arrest without warrants, power to prevent commission of the offence, power to compound the offence, forfeiture of leases, etcetera)
Chapter 9

Cattle trespass and penalties thereof.

Chapter 10

Forest Officers (State Government may invest any Officer by Name or as holding an Office, power to enter any premises, survey demarcate, compel to attend and give evidence like Civil Court, powers to issue search warrants, under Cr. PC, 1898, Forest Officers deemed public servant).

Chapter 11

Supplementary provisions.

THE WILDLIFE (PROTECTION) ACT, 1972 (As Amended in 2002)

This Act is applicable to the State of Nagaland. This Act adopts a two – pronged conservation strategy

  • Specified endangered species are to be protected regardless of location;
  • All species are to be protected.

The object of the Act is to arrest the rapid decline and provide protection to the Wildlife population. The Act also strives at regulating hunting of wild animals and birds (Chapter-III).

Procedure for declaring areas as Sanctuaries and National Parks are prescribed in Chapter-IV. There is prohibition on hunting on all animals as mentioned in Schedule I to IV. The Act also regulates trade in wild animals, animals articles, trophies and subject to the provision of Chapter-V(A), prohibits dealing therein without a license. Through an Amendment Bill, 2002, the amended Act proposes to create two new categories of Protected Areas, i.e., Conservation reserves and Community Reserve.

NAGALAND JHUMLAND ACT, 1970

This Act is applicable to the whole State since 12th April, 1974. This Act has broadened the meaning of forests. Forest means any land except the land which has been put to terrace for the purpose of permanent or semi-permanent cultivation to any land attached or appurtenant to a dwelling house. It has brought the jhum land under the ambit of Forest Department as far as movement of forest produce emanating from there.

THE FOREST (CONSERVATION) ACT, 1980

This Act is applicable since 25 October, 1980. The Act has made it mandatory to obtain prior approval of the Central Government for any non- forest activities in forest areas. The State Government vide its Notification No. FOR-58/82 dated 03.07.1986 has extended the application of this Act to forest lands under the control of Forest Department.

WRIT PETITION (PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION) CIVIL No.202/1995

This case is known as T.N.Godavarman Tirumulkpad Vs Union of India & Others. This case is a remarkable illustration on the concept of sustainable development. The pronouncement of the apex Court can be summarized as follows:

  • Forests include the areas noted in the Government records as forest, irrespective of ownership. The decision invoked the dictionary meaning of ‘Forests’.
  • Running of saw-mills of any kind is a non – forest activity.
  • Felling of trees has to be in accordance with approved Working Scheme/ Management Plan
  • Each State to constitute an Expert Committee for identification of forest areas, denuded forests and to assess the sustainable capacity of the forests.
NAGALAND TREE FELLING REGULATION RULES, 2002

Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its interim Order dated 12.05.2001 with respect to Writ Petition (PIL) No.2002 of 1995 (T.N.Godavarman Tirumulkpad Vs Union of India & Others) directed for framing of rules for regulating the felling of trees from non-forest areas including the plantation.

EXTRACTION AND TRANSPORTATION OF PINE ROOTS AND STUMPS GUIDLINES

Guidelines for issue of Transit Permit for Pine roots/stumps was approved by the Government vide No. FOR/Gen- 67/2005 dated 24.09.2009 as under:

a) Extraction:

    1. Except under approved Working Schemes and Nagaland Tree felling Regulation Act, 2002, felling of pine trees are strictly prohibited.
    2. Divisional Forest Officer shall make proper assessment/ authentication of the quantity/ availability of pine roots/ stumps as under:
      • Trees felled prior to regulatory order issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court Dated 12.12.1996.
      • Approved Working Scheme operation area.
      • The Nagaland Tree felling Regulation Act, 2002
    3. Extraction of decayed pine roots/stumps is to be authorized /certified by the concerned village council Chairman.
    4. Decayed pine roots/ stumps sourced from pine growing region must not be more than 3(three feet) in length and shall be chiseled/ dressed for transportation.
    5. The royalty rates on pine firewood stumps/roots shall be realized at par with royalty on firewood as notified by the Government.
    6. Transportation of pine roots/ stumps shall be on valid T.P. only (As per Nagaland Forest Act, 1968 under Section 40 and Government Notification dated Kohima 1st March, 1969 No. FOR-V (Misc) 43/67 (2) Rules to regulate, the export of Forest Produce, 1969).
    7. Forest permits are to be issued by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests on the basis of the availability report submitted by the respective territorial DFOs.

The validity of the permit shall not be more than 3(three) months which may be extended further for another 3 (three) months only.

b) Penalty:

  1. Violation of the guidelines shall warrant cancellation of the permits/depot license, etc.
GUIDELINES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MOLDED BEATS/FRAMES FROM NORTH EASTERN STATES

Pursuant to the Order No.8-15/SIT/2005/Pt.XVI dated 17.04.2006 of the Special Investigation Team (Constitute pursuant to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Order dated 13.01.2000 in WP(C) No.202/95, fallowing guidelines are to be fallowed for transportation of molded beats/frames outside the State of Nagaland;

  1. All molding beat /frames unit are required to obtain registration from the local DFO on payment of Rs 500/-(Rupees five hundred only) as registration fee through Treasury Challan Registration is to be renewed every year.
  2. Molding beat/frame unit shall be located within an approved industrial estate.
  3. It shall use sawn timber sourced from HPC Approved saw mills.
  4. The input for the molding beat/frame shall be duly accounted for in the output of the sawn timber of the concerned HPC Approved saw mill and shall also be recorded in its monthly returns.
  5. The round timber shall be felled as per approved Working Scheme/Tree Felling Regulation Act,2002.
  6. The loading of molding beats/frames shall be done under strict supervision of the Forest Officers and shall be covered by valid transit passes including mill challans (conversion) from HPC cleared mills.
  7. No transportation of moulding beats/frames shall be permitted outside the North East by road. Such transportation within the North East shall be permitted only if valid transit pass has been issued after verifying the legality of the timber and provided.
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