Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South
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Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South

Edited by Philippe Cullet and Sujith Koonan

This comprehensive Research Handbook offers an innovative analysis of environmental law in the global South and contributes to an important reassessment of some of its major underlying concepts. The Research Handbook discusses areas rarely prioritized in environmental law, such as land rights, and underlines how these intersect with issues including poverty, livelihoods and the use of natural resources, challenging familiar narratives around development and sustainability in this context and providing new insights into environmental justice.
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Chapter 14: Forest rights and tribals in mineral rich areas of India: the Vedanta case and beyond

Geetanjoy Sahu

Abstract

In recent years, there has been increasing resistance by tribal communities to various development projects, with particular focus on rights of ownership, control and management of land and resources traditionally held by them. In 2013 the Supreme Court of India gave a landmark order directing the Government of Odisha to seek free and prior consent of the gram sabhas before giving clearance to the Vedanta Company for mining of bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha. In this context, this chapter seeks to examine two important aspects related to mining activities in tribal areas: first, how mining activities, through an aggressive and exploitative mineral policy, have impacted tribal rights in India; second, how effective have the constitutional provisions and statutory acts been in safeguarding tribal rights over the use and management of forest resources vis-à-vis mining activities in forest areas? The Vedanta judgment has many lessons to offer in this regard.

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