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Common Lands made 'Wastelands': Making of the 'Wastelands' into Common Lands

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Singh, Subrata
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9074
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): wastelands
Supreme Court
Abstract: "This paper explores the evolution of the discourse on 'wastelands' in India from the colonial time to the present and how it has shaped Indias land related policies. This paper is an attempt to understand the changing rights of the communities to use the resources over the past two centuries. The concept of wastelands in India originated during the colonial period and included all lands that were not under cultivation through the process of settlement for all land held under different property regimes. While the state took all the wastelands under its purview through the principle of Eminent Domain, these lands were supposed to be managed with the principle of Public Trust Doctrine where the State is not an absolute owner, but a trustee of all natural resources. With the competing demands over the wastelands, the discussions and discourse have emerged on the relevance of the common lands (wastelands) in ecological and economic terms and against the use of such wastelands for commercial purposes. This has further been strengthened by the enactment of the Forest Rights Act in 2006 and the recent judgments by the Supreme Court of India on the protection of the common lands. This has brought in a discourse on the Communitization of the wastelands as Commons."

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