Tribal Rights

Since its inception, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has been conducting legal interventions regarding forest land rights of tribals, atrocities on tribals, labour cases and ensuring the implementation of the 73rd amendment to the Indian Constitution. In order to raise awareness within the community, the CSJ is engaged in campaign for tribal self-rule in Panchayati Raj and training of tribal farmers on revenue related issue. For its public meetings, theatre and documentary films were the primary medium. The CSJ has also worked in coordination with voluntary agencies on issues related to land and forest rights of tribal people and provided logistics and media support to Adivasi Mahasabha — a movement for tribal rights. The CSJ also participated in a workshop on the situation of land rights in Gujarat as part of the Gujarat Social Forum and produced legal awareness generation materials on gram sabha, land rights and tribals, rights of the arrestee and first information report (FIR).

As a result of the CSJ’s efforts and awareness campaigns, drastic changes have come about among tribal communities where it works. Though it has been customary for tribals not to seek legal remedy without the permission of the community leader, tribals, especially women, are beginning to approach courts in cases where they feel that their rights have been violated. This is a direct result of the efforts of the CSJ. Following the CSJ campaign on the Right to Information Act (RTI), tribals have begun using the RTI as a tool for seeking information from the government machinery. Additionally, as forest land is a major issue for the tribal community, tribals are becoming aware of their right to land, as found reflected in the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.