Subsistence Commons in India

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David Bollier:

"Subsistence commons in India based on farmland, forests, water and other natural resources have been formally recognized by Indian law as commons. This remarkable fact stems from a landmark ruling by the Indian Supreme Court in 2012 [1] that ruled against a real estate developer whose buildings had enclosed a village pond functioning as a commons. The political and legal repercussions of this ruling are still reverberating in India, but it is symbolically and perhaps substantively an important legal victory for commoners, whose “unowned” land and water have so often been regarded by conventional law as “wastelands.” The Indian commons advocacy group, the Foundation for Ecological Security (Jagdeesh Rao, director), is actively tracking the dozens of judgments and orders about the commons that have since emerged from Indian courts and state governments."

More Information


* Memorandum: Reinventing Law for the Commons. A Strategy Memo for the Heinrich Böll Foundation. By David Bollier. Commons Strategies Group, 2015

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