The Supreme Court on Tuesday said nine states have not followed the procedure in rejecting the claims of Adivasis over forest land, PTI reported. The court said that the eviction of around 11.8 lakh allegedly illegal forest dwellers was an important matter.

“Nine states say they have not followed the procedure,” a bench of Justices MR Shah and BR Gavai said. “We would like to be addressed first on this. It is an important matter.”

The judges asked the states, which have not yet filed an affidavit, to file their responses by September 6. The bench posted the matter for hearing next on September 12.

On February 13, the top court had passed an order to evict more than 10 lakh families of Adivasis and other forest-dwellers from forest lands across 16 states. However, the court stayed its order on February 28 after the Centre and the Gujarat government filed petitions against it.

The bench had then posted the matter for further hearing to July 10, and asked the states to file their responses by that time.