New Delhi: A Bill seeking to make it mandatory for a forest officer to obtain and record views of Gram Sabha before compounding forest-related offences and to raise fines for compounding minor offences from Rs 50 to Rs 10,000, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha today.
The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2012, introduced by Forest Minister Jayanti Natarajan, proposes to insert a new sub-section in the original Act of 1927 to make it mandatory for the forest officer to obtain and record the views of Gram Sabha before compounding the offence.
This is to ensure transparency in compounding of the offences and participation of the people of Gram Sabha level, the Bill`s statement of object and reason said.
The Bill also seeks to revise the limit of fines for compounding of minor offences under the Forest Act from Rs 50 to Rs 10,000.
The measure is aimed at stopping harassment and prosecution of forest dwellers and tribals for minor offences, as forest officers implicated tribals in false cases to harass them whenever they went into the forest to meet their daily livelihood needs.
The purpose of the amended act is also to ensure transparency in compounding of offences and participation of people at Gram Sabha level.
The legislation also proposes to omit the salary limit of Forest Officer for doing the compounding of offence.