A consultative meeting of all stakeholders including representatives from the civil societies, NGOs, political parties, Autonomous District Councils and officials from various departments under the State Government regarding the proposed amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 was held on 03.10.2019at the Secretariat Conference Hall, Aizawl. The Minister of Environment Forests and Climate Change, Pu TJ Lalnuntluanga who also holds the portfolio of Law and Judicial Department presided over the meeting.

The proposed amendment to the Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927 which was finalized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) was circulated to different states on 14th March, 2019 inviting comments and wide consultation with the stakeholders. Accordingly, the Government of Mizoram after uploading the same in the official website of EF&CC Deptt. convened the meeting to discuss the proposed Amendments.

The meeting, after examining and discussing various sections in the proposed amendment unanimously agreed that the proposed amendment directly encroaches upon the special protection given to the State of Mizoram by Article 371 G of the Constitution as it directly touches upon issues like the Mizo Customary law and practices, ownership and transfer of land as well as the powers conferred upon the Autonomous District Councils of the State of Mizoram to make their own laws under Paragraph 3 (a), (b) and (d) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. The power of Parliament to enact any law for the entire territory of India is fettered in so far as the State of Mizoram is concerned since article 371G is a non-obstante provision which overrides the general power of Parliament to enact any laws than it is otherwise competent to make, and the proposed amendments directly encroaches upon such provisions.
The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was not in force in the State of Mizoram and instead, the erstwhile Union Territory of Mizoram enacted a law called “The Mizoram Forest Act, 1955” in accordance with the customary laws and needs of the people of Mizoramwhich has been in force till date. If the proposed amendment is passed by the Parliament, the same will override in whole or in parts of these enactments-The Lushai Hills District (Village Councils) Act, 1953, The Mizoram (Prevention & Control of Fire) rules, 2001, The Mizoram Forest Act, 1955, The Mizoram (Land Revenue) Act, 2013, etc..

After due deliberation it was resolved that since the proposed amendment encroaches upon the special Constitutional protection given to the State of Mizoram under article 371G. Hence, cannot be accepted.