Government Policies /Interventions: Draft Indian Forest Act, 2019, Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, UNCLOs (Download PDF)

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Forest Act

Recently released by the Union government. Proposal of an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Indian Forest Act, 1927 was imposed by the British rulers to take over Indian forests.

Draft Indian Forest Act, 2019

  • Forest officials could govern areas declared as forestlands.
  • Arrest and prosecution of forest-dwellers.
  • This act extinguished the rights of millions of forest dwellers.
  • The draft law largely retains as well as enhances the policing and quasi-judicial powers.

Key Features

  • Powers
  • Commercial use
  • Production forests՚
  • Infrastructure
  • Offence
  • Protection
  • Case
  • Collective Punishment

Concerns

  • The draft Indian Forest Act, 2019 is short of being a transformative piece of legislation.
  • Reinforces the idea of bureaucratic control of forests.
  • Enhancing powers of forest bureaucracy is likely to alienate tribals.
  • There is a need to redraw the Draft Indian Forest Act to rid it of the bureaucratic overreach.

New Law Rework

  • The new law should expand India՚s forests.
  • Should ensure the well-being of traditional forest-dwellers.
  • Biodiversity in the landscapes.
  • Improving forest health through collaboration.
  • Aim to reduce conflicts, incentivise tribals and stop diversion for non-forest uses.
  • Recognisation of all suitable landscapes as forests and be insulated from commercial exploitation.

Tasks Ahead

  • Moderating the lives of adivasis and other traditional dwellers.
  • Wider impact in terms of climate and monsoons.
  • Environmental policy has weakened public scrutiny of decisions on diversion of forests.
  • The public hearings process has been diluted.
  • Assessment reports are not being taken seriously.
  • There is a need to launch a process of consultation, beginning with the State governments.
  • All stakeholders and communities along with independent scientific experts must be consulted by the Centre.

Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill

  • Introduced in Lok Sabha.
  • Kidnapping of 18 Indians off the coast of Nigeria.
  • Provides for prevention of maritime piracy and prosecution of persons for such piracy related crimes.

Need for this Bill

  • Absence of Any Specific Laws-Problems is being faced in ensuring effective Prosecution of the pirates.
  • Shift in Area of Piracy-The pirates have shifted their area of operations eastwards and southwards which now has also reached towards the western coast of India as well.
  • Being a Signatory of UNCLOS-India signed United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982 & ratified it in 1995.

Key Highlights of the Bill

  • An act of violence, detention or destruction committed against a ship, aircraft, person or property, for private purposes by the crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft.
  • Any other act that is considered piracy under international law.
  • The Bill will be applicable to all parts of the sea adjacent to and beyond the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
  • Seeks to provide for stringent punishment including death penalty or life imprisonment.
  • The offenses will extraditable which means that the accused can be transferred to any country for prosecution with which India has signed an extradition treaty.
  • The Sessions Courts to be the Designated Courts under the Bill which may also notify the territorial jurisdiction of each Designated Court.

UNCLOs (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOs)

  • An international treaty.
  • Adopted and signed in 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world՚s oceans and seas.
  • All problems related to ocean are closely interrelated and need to be addressed as a whole.
  • There is no role of the United Nations in management, implementation or execution of this Treaty.

Creation of three new institutions on the international scene:

  • The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
  • The International Seabed Authority.
  • The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 26, 2020

Policy/Governance, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Bills, Committees/Govt. Bodies

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