Social Movements Against Appropriation of Livelihood Natural Resources in India - Issues of Public Trusteeship Vs Eminent Domain

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Rohit JAIN, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur Campus, India
Jurisprudence in India on Natural Resources like land water, Forest and Water is based on the principle of Eminent Domain which empowers the State to assert their sovereign rights over these resources and acquire them through coercion and violence and in the process displacing the people, their livelihoods and often condemning them to life of pauperization. Along with the principle of Eminent Domain there is another principle which is also part of Indian Environmental Law but often ignored by the State The Public Trust Doctrine (PTD). The Doctrine basically primarily rests on the principle that certain resources like air, sea, waters and the forests have such a great importance to the people as a whole that it would be wholly unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership. It is within this framework of PTD, the paper would look at different movements against appropriation of livelihood natural resources in India especially around Forests and Water.

Movements around Forests and Water in India have basically questioned the eminent domain, violence and coercion of the State and have asserted that the State holds the natural resources in trust for the people ad cannot be sold or privatized even for a fair cash equivalent. The paper would study the Forest Rights Movement and the movement against privatization of rivers and water in India and understand their contribution in reestablishing the Public Trust Doctrine. Some example are the enactment of the Recognition of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the struggle to nullify the MOU of privatization of Sheonath river in Chhattisgarh State. The paper would be based on secondary data and discuss the above movements and their contribution.