Our land is banked: forest rights, consent and the invention of a legal exception as land banks

Our land is banked: forest rights, consent and the invention of a legal exception as land banks
Arpitha Kodiveri
International Journal of Human Rights, 3 February 2021
Abstract
Land banks are a newly created administrative mechanism managed by the Odisha Industrial and Infrastructure Corporation (IDCO) and the Revenue and Disaster Management Department. Their purpose is to provide large parcels of land to industries with minimal procedural hassles in the acquisition. Thus, the administrative authorities put in place an intricate web of legal interpretations that enable it to bypass due process requirements. The legal landscape in India’s forests transformed with the passing of the Forest Rights Act,2006 in the direction of democratisation and participation of forest-dwelling communities. An essential part of this legal framework was the right to free, prior, and informed consent of the village assembly. In this paper, through case studies and examples I argue that a space of exception is created within the law through the mechanism of land banks to prevent the applicability of the consent provision. This sophisticated legal interpretive exercise by the administrative authority results in the violation of the human right to free, prior, and informed consent of forest-dwelling communities in Odisha.

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