Forest Land cannot be regularized by Revenue Authorities

Himachal Pradesh High Court: In an appeal before this court filed by the plaintiff for declaration of permanent prohibitory injunction against the State Government from taking possession and in alternative for possession against the defendants of ‘nautor land’, a bench of Rajiv Sharma J, dismissed the appeal stating that the suit land could not be allotted in favour of the plaintiff as the land in question is a forest land which cannot be regularized by the revenue authorities.

In the instant case, the petitioner claimed himself to be in possession of suit land (nautor land) which was granted by way of regularization by Deputy Commissioner, Bilaspur. A review application was filed against this order which was accepted by the Deputy Commissioner. Consequently the petitioner filed suit before the Civil Judge and then an appeal before the District Judge wherein an order was passed for the State Government to take possession of the remaining land as well. Aggrieved by this order, petitioner filed an appeal before this Court.

The Court further made observation that there is a detailed procedure in which, the forest land has to be dealt with under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and with regard to the specific mandatory provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, neither the Deputy Commissioner nor the Divisional Commissioner were competent to transfer or regularize the land in favour of the plaintiff. The Court also directed that the State Government has no authority to frame a policy of regularization of forest land against the very letter and spirit of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 as framing of such policies is against rule of law and might encourage dishonest persons to encroach upon the government land. Thakur Dass v. State of H.P, 2015 SCC OnLine HP 883, decided on 23.2.2015

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