Personally, I have trekked several times deep inside reserved forests and always there has been a discussion over the concept of “reserved forest”; why permission to enter inside them is required; what are the acts which are permitted and prohibited inside reserved forest.
An endeavor has been made here to understand (a) the concept of “reserved forest” as per the strict provisions of law (b) acts which are prohibited inside reserved forests (c) what are the consequences of committing any of the acts prohibited under the forest laws.
The term “Reserved forest” now-a-days has been interchangeably used from common man to super learned professional in various context but this term is a pure creature of Indian law and it means the forest declared to be reserved by the concerned State Government by specifying the limits of the reserved forest. Therefore, each state government has been vested with powers under their respective State Forest Act to declare a certain portion of land as reserved forest in order to protect and preserve the biologically diversity of that place.
To understand the concept of “reserved forest” better and how it is done by the Tamil Nadu State Government please visit this link http://www.tn.gov.in/stationeryprinting/gazette/2010/9-II-2.pdf. The Tamil Nadu State government has declared Nanmangalam Reserve Forest located at Medavakkam between Velachery and Tambaram in Chennai this is so declared to protect the wide variety of birds which has visit and made it has place of habitat. Therefore, there could be a reserved forest even inside a metropolitan city and needless it should be in no man’s land.
To get authentic information about the list of reserved forests one can file a right to information application with the concerned “Public Information Officer”, Forest department of the respective state government and obtain necessary details.
Acts which are prohibited in reserved forests:-
Any person who –
1. Makes any fresh clearing of the forest land; or
2. Sets fire to a reserved forest, kindles any fire, or leaves any fire burning, in such manner as to endanger such a forest;
3. Trespasses or pastures cattle or permits cattle to trespass;
4. Causes any damage by negligence in felling any tree or cutting or dragging any timber;
5. fells, girdles, lops, or bums any tree or strips off the bark or leaves from, or otherwise damages, the same;
6. Quarries stone, bums lime or charcoal, or collects, subjects to any manufacturing process, or removes, any forest-produce;
7. Clears or breaks up any land for cultivation or any other purpose;
8. Hunts, shoots, fishes, poisons water or sets traps or snares.
The above mentioned acts are prohibited inside any “reserved forest” under the Indian laws.
Any person you is caught doing any of the prohibited activities mentioned above shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both, in addition to such compensation for damage done to the forest as the Court may direct to be paid.
Hope it give you a basic idea of reserve forest.