Forest Conservation Act, 1980

Forest Conservation Act 1980


Forest Conservation Act 1980 is a unique piece of legislation and regulatory mechanism that reflects the collective will of the nation to protect its rich forests, biodiversity and natural heritage and resources. The act permits only the inevitable use of forest land for different purposes of production. It embodies the strong commitment of the Government and the Department to align the protection of forests with the sustainable development needs of a community that contributes to a healthier climate, health and economy. The Forest Protection Act, 1980, is an act passed by the Parliament of India to protect forests and regulate forest deforestation in India.


The Indian Forest Act of 1865 was the first legal draft on this subject. During the colonial era, it was later replaced by the Indian Forest Act of 1927. When a law is passed, the expectation is that it would resolve the social problem that it was enacted to address. When the Indian Forest Act of 1927 was passed, the same hope was expressed, but it was limited to British interests only.

The need to conserve forests became more urgent after India’s independence, and the President of India enacted the Forest (Conservation) Ordinance, 1980. Section 5 of the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980, which went into effect on October 25, 1980, repealed the ordinance. It was passed to protect the country’s forests and matters related to them. The act was introduced in the parliament on the 25th of October,1980. This act, unlike the previous one, prevented the conversion of a forested area into a non-forested one. 


The importance of forests cannot be underestimated in our lives. We rely on forests for our survival from the air we breathe to the wood we use. In addition to providing protection for livestock and human livelihoods, forests protect watersheds, prevent soil erosion and fight climate change.

The main importance of the forest conservation act of 1980 is to protect and preserve the forests of the country and prevent deforestation which leads to land erosion and degradation of the land.  It aims to protect the flora and fauna and other diverse ecological components. It prevents the conversion of forested areas into non forested areas like agriculture lands, residential units and others and also prevents the loss of forest biodiversity. 

The State government and other authorities are no longer permitted to make decisions in certain areas without first obtaining approval from the federal government. The central government has full authority to carry out the laws of this Act. Infringement of this Act’s provisions would also be punishable. 


Section 1: 

This section talks about the meaning, title, and commencement of the act. 

Section 2:

This section forbids the state government and the  other authorities from passing legislations  in the following areas without first receiving approval from the federal government

Section 3:

The central government has the authority under Section 3 of this Act to form an advisory committee to provide advice on matters relating to the Act.

Section 3a: 

According to this provision, anybody who violates or aids in the violation of any law in Section 2 is subject to simple imprisonment for any period up to 15 days.

Section 3b: 

This case discusses the crimes committed by the Authorities and the Government Department.


Through notifying the laws prescribed by this Act in the official gazette, the Central government has the power to carry them out. Any law should be submitted to both houses of the parliament for thirty days before being implemented.

Section 5:

This section of the Act repealed the Forest (Conservation) Ordinance, 1980.


The judiciary has also played an important role in preserving forests and protecting our environment through a variety of public interest disputes (PILs) filed under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Constitution.

State of MP v. Krishnadas Tikaram (1994)

In this case the respondents were denied the renewal of their mining license because the state cannot grant permission without consultation from the central government as mentioned in section 2 of the act. 

Krishnadevi Malchand Kamathia v. Bombay Environmental Action (2011)

In that case, an application was lodged by the District Collector to initiate proceedings against the appellants for violation of the orders before the court. The court issued instructions to remove the newly built bundle so that seawater could enter to protect the mangrove forests. The order sought to prevent the appellants from indulging in any conduct that would be detrimental to mangrove forests. The Supreme Court held that the production of salt by solar evaporation of seawater is not allowed in the region as it is home to mangrove forests.


Forests are very important to our environment because they provide an ecological balance. But the frightening pace of deforestation across the world has begun to cause ecological imbalances and damage to our ecosystem. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was passed with the intention of protecting forests by restricting the rate of deforestation. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, came into effect on 25 October 1980. This Act has been implemented to protect the forests of our country. Forests are an integral part of our nature; they preserve the whole ecosystem and the water cycle of the earth. This Act has been implemented in order to protect the biodiversity and the forest of our land. A very famous quote reads that a nation who destroys its soil perhaps destroys itself. Under the Act, the central government has the power to make any new law or to make any amendments to existing legislation. Restrictions have been imposed on the state government to make any decisions on forest issues referred to in the Act without the prior approval of the central government. It has also imposed sanctions on those who contravene any clause of this Act. A famous quote reads that a nation that destroys its soil perhaps destroys itself.  If we want to protect our country from being destroyed, we must protect our forests at any costs. 


  6. State of MP v. Krishnadas Tikaram- Appeal (civil)  3276 of 1990
  7. 2) Krishnadevi Malchand Kamathia v. Bombay Environmental Action                                                         -CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4421 OF