The Supreme Court today stayed the implementation of its order dated February 13, by which it had directed the eviction of forest dwellers and tribals across the country..The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha, and MR Shah has directed the states to submit affidavits detailing the procedure adopted to assess the claims under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The affidavits must also provide details of the authorities that decided these claims..When the hearing commenced today, Justice Arun Mishra asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta why the Centre was “caught in a slumber” and approached the Court only now, when the previous order in the case was passed in 2016..Mehta, accepting that there is no explanation for the same, submitted that the Act only talks about the process for assessing claims and does not provide for eviction..It was also submitted by the Centre, through Mehta, that the main challenge is to the Constitutional validity of the Act and it affects a large number of forest dwellers. The February 13 order of the Supreme Court causes serious prejudice to the lives of the forest dwellers, Mehta submitted before the Court. At this point, Justice Arun Mishra asked the parties,.“Are these people (living in the forest) all tribals or normal people living there.”.Senior Counsel Shyam Divan, arguing for the Petitioner organization Wildlife First in this case, told the Court that bona fide forest dwellers will not be affected by the Court’s order. He submitted,.“The people who have been granted pattas by the authorities will not be affected by the Court’s order at all.”.Mehta at this juncture termed this a “human problem” and went on to claim that forest conservation and protection of rights of forest dwellers have always coexisted, the world over. Continuing his submissions, Mehta argued that the Forest Rights Act only deals with the process of assessment of claims and does not touch upon the point of eviction saying that the “limited scope of the Act is to recognize the rights or not.”.On the point of assessment of claims, Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves told the Court that most of the claims under the Act have been rejected by the authorities to which Justice Mishra observed that lack of proper documentation might make it difficult for the Tribals to prove their right over the land..After hearing the submissions from parties, the Court stayed the implementation of its previous order..The Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra had, on February 13, passed an order directing as many as twenty-one states to evict those Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) whose claims under the Forest Rights Act were rejected..SC orders eviction of Adivasis, Forest Dwellers; Directs Satellite Survey of encroachment.The implementation of the order would effectively cause the eviction of over 11 lakh forest dwellers whose claims stood rejected by the authorities under the Forest Rights Act..The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs moved the Supreme Court and sought a modification of this order, as well as a temporary stay on the implementation of the same. It was submitted by the Ministry that the Forest Rights Act is a welfare legislation and must be construed as such for the benefit of the poor and illiterate forest dwellers..In accordance with the Court’s order passed in 2016, some states had furnished the number of claims rejected under the Act. However, details of these rejections were not provided, the Centre had contended. It has sought details of the rejection of claims and procedure adopted thereafter..The Centre, in its application, has also defended the Forest Rights Act, saying that it was enacted with an intent to correct the historical process by which tribal and other forest-dwelling communities in the country were alienated from their right to habitation and right to occupy and hold forest land and forest produce. .It was enacted under the constitutional mandate of Article 15(4), which specifically empowers the state to provide for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes, the application states. It is also noted that under the Act, the rejection of a claim does not ipso facto lead to the eviction of forest dwellers and tribals.