The struggle of the indigenous people across India’s forest areas fighting for democracy, livelihood and dignity has been going on since independence. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is a result of the protracted struggle by the marginal and tribal communities of our country to assert their rights over the forestland over which they were traditionally dependent.The government’s willingness to recognise their customary rights and undo the historical injustice the tribes have faced for decades has opened up through the restitution of deprived forest rights across India, including both individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common property resources.
As per the provisions of the Act and the Rules, it is up to the State/UT Governments to implement it. The Act seeks to recognize traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights are yet to be known eventhough it is well known that the tribals depend on forests for their livelihoods, gathering leaves, fruits, flowers, fuel wood, and other products for their own use and for sale. Hence he Act was created to reverse the erosion of their traditional rights by forestry policies, encroachment on their lands by outsiders and the take-over of their forests.