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 The RoFR act recognizes the dwelling site, religious places, burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, biodiverisity etc and also PVT tenures. As the implementation boils down to title deeds for house sites and lands under cultivation, SAKTI engaged the Chenchu youth to document their traditional knowledge in their idiom and dialect, in encouraging them to assert as inborn foresters, capable of managing these resources as envisaged in the Act.

"Since SAKTI activities are mostly issue based and covering a large area, here we concentrate on the forest-related programmes of SAKTI for the present study."


The Tribal Struggle for Property Rights

-Arun Kumar

SAKTI: Review Report by: Mukta Srivastava, Programme Officer, Oxfam GB in India - Hyderabad . DATE : 20-25 November 2002




Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


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- Translated and published in Nalupu magazine dated: 

Vempa Gangamma is a tribal lady of Irlapalli a village just two Kms. to Rampachodavaram. 15 years back she and one contractor from Gokavaram lived together at Bornagudem, Gangamma got a son born blind. Later the contractor wound up his business and left to Gokavaram. The efforts of Gangamma in contacting the contractor were in vain.


SAKTI a Voluntary organisation based at Rampachodavaram has asked her to file a case before the Sub Divisional Magistrate, (Sub Collector, R.Chodavaram) and helped her to engage a lawyer also. The Sub Divisional Magistrate, passed maintenance decree and ordered that the contractor should pay Rs.300/- for Gangamma and Rs.200/- for the blind son per month.


The Contractor appealed in the District Court. The Court struck down the lower court judgement saying that proof of ‘valid’ marriage is necessary for a ‘wife’ to claim maintenance.


The lawyer pleading for Vempa Gangamma in the District Court felt that, while drafting the petition in the lower court itself one must be careful. In view of the clear admission in the petition before the Sub Divisional Magistrate Rampachodavaram that there was no marriage, under the provision of Cr.PC Vempa Gangamma is not entitled to claim maintenance and therefore there is little one can do in defending the respondent Vempa Gangamma in appellate Court.


Than Gangamma filed a writ petition in High Court submitting her argument that the learned sessions judge over looked the fact that in tribal societies there will not be a marriage in the legal sense of the term and more particularly when the male partner is a non-tribal and hence the order is bad and further she pleaded that in evaluating the merits of the case involving tribals, the normal rules of evidence need not strictly be followed and case can be based on probabilities. The petition is pending before the High Court of A.P.


The learned lawyers started applying same yard stick of legal marriage and legal divorce to the cases between the tribals also.


One Kukkara Lalitha a tribal lady of Ginnepalli village of Rampachodavaram mandal filed a petition for maintenance and a share to her children from the property of her husband who is also a tribal. The argument of the defence counsel of the husband is that Lalitha earlier married one tribal and later she started living with the present husband from whom she is claiming maintenance and property to her children, and that the first marriage was not ‘legally’ dissolved under the provisions of Cr.PC. A Concubine however long and exclusive the cohabitation might have been, is not entitled for maintenance. This is the argument of defence counsel.


These are some of the cases of tribal women who are sexually exploited and deserted and the agonising trial they are facing. When they moved the courts for legal redressal, though the courts are unable to do justice, they are able to label them as concubines. Concubines and prostitutes are part of the Hindu value system ‘Marriage by capture, mutual love and elopement, marriage by service are socially accepted ways of acquiring mates among the tribals, where as these ways of acquiring mates are socially prohibited in the Hindu Society.


Further levirate type of marriage, divorce, widow marriage are also customarily practised in the former community where as they are tabooed in the latter community’ The Primitive marriage are totally absent and even the vestiges of the institution could not be traced in the non-tribal communities. In a tribal society according to their customary law all the above practices of elopment, mutual consent or widow remarriage are presumed a marriages. For a non-tribal who ‘uses’ her, she is concubine. Living together is a marriage for tribals. Since tribals practise bygamy – any tribal women goes with a man as a wife or cowife not as a concubine. Some time the cowives live under the same roof also.


The primary courts, which deal with these matters give a sympathetic judgement either in favour of tribal or go by the public opinion i.e. Some convenient settled legal position. Rarely they take pains to elicit the information of the customary practices, the efforts the non-tribal has made toe win over the tribal girl in a village (Public) Court and record the whole situation elaboratly in their judgement. So these judgements some times fail before the eagle eyes of manipulation in High Courts.


These cases of tribal women are not simply individual grievances. Whole tribal society is taken for a ride under the shelter of these conflicting value systems. The bias of local jury who are almost non-tribals is also clear.

So in pursuing these cases at different courts SAKTI has gathered a lot of literature on tribal customary laws available in the ‘confidential’ documents of Government and from the published works of the anthropologists, SAKTI appeals to active feminists to take up this issue to wider forums. To man has a right to enjoy women and call them concubines, and escape responsibility. Shall we conclude that bulldozing the customary practices which upheld human values by Hindu marriage Act is the blessing. We can offer to our tribal communities.




W.P. No. 5515/87 M.P.No.7398/87 Date:May 1987

W.P. No. 6175/87 M.P.No.8273/87 Date:May 1987

 "Managing Director Godavari plywoods ltd. Rampachodavaram E.G.Dt. be and hereby is directed not to cut any mango trees, jamun and jack trees and cutting the forests of Maredumilli mandal, E.G.Dt."

 Only matured or dying trees were to be felled. Jeelugu (Caryota urens) palm, trees yielding minor forest produce like tamarind or cane brakes, creepers were not to be touched. A gap of 20 meters from a stream.)         --Times of India, April 30, 1991.


The candidate has chosen a topical subject, very relevant to our thinking on culture, cognition and language. He has red widely and is familiar with the literature that matters. His linguistic and anthropological reasoning is sound. His language is clear and simple.

...evidence of the investigator's ability as a linguist by special training and as a linguistic anthropologist by self - cultivated interest.

Prof. A.Munirathnam Reddy, Head, Department of Social Anthropology,S.V.University, Tirupati - 517502


Enabling the Community to Gain Command Over the Administrative Process is Empowerment.


"Today the development is manaement without governance and governanace is without proper participation."



A.P.Cabinet Sub - Committee Report on Left Wing Extrremists. - P.Sivaramakrishna.

The only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters, never the violations of the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, mismanagement of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of Socio-economic entities etc. 



if the R & R is found to be lagging with reference to the fixed bench marks, the construction should accordingly be deferred / stopped;



Click here to Bauxite Case: Read full article.