Tripura High Court: S.G. Chattopadhyay, J., dismissed a criminal revision petition which had been filed challenging the judgment delivered by the Sessions Judge in which the Judge had affirmed the judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate convicting the petitioner under Section 42 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and sentencing him to R.I for three months and fine of Rs.500 with default stipulation.
Officer-in-Charge of Forest Protection Unit, Garjee lodged a prosecution report in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate alleging that at about 11.30 am on the day, he along with his accompanying forest staff detained a vehicle, soon after they stopped the vehicle the driver of the vehicle along with three other persons ran away. But the petitioner could not escape. A search operation was carried out in the vehicle and 23 unmarked sized logs of teak tree were found loaded in the vehicles which were seized and the petitioner was detained. On interrogation, the petitioner confessed to the forest patrolling team that he was engaged in smuggling forest produce from Udaipur to Bangladesh over a long period of time. Trial Judge had found him guilty and convicted him under Section 42 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 after appreciation of evidence and the Sessions Judge had affirmed the conviction. The counsel for the petitioner, Ms Monalisa Pal contended that evidence available on record were not sufficient to hold him guilty for the said offence.
The question before the Court was that whether in the given facts of the case and the evidence recorded at the trial, the conviction and sentence of the petitioner under Section 42 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 had been appropriate.
The Court explained that Indian Forest Act, 1927 was enacted to consolidate the law relating to forest, the transit of forest produce and duty leviable on timber and other forest produce. The Court further observed that the petitioner could not bring on record any material to disbelieve the consistent, corroborative and coherent evidence of the prosecution witnesses with regard to his involvement in the alleged offence. It has been established that he was found transporting 23 unmarked sized logs of teak tree in his vehicle from one place to another unauthorisedly and thereby committed breach of the provisions of the Tripura Forest Transit Rules, 1952 for which he was penalised by the trial Court after a full trial.
The Court dismissed the revision petition holding that there was no infirmity in the impugned judgment passed by the appellate Court.[Abdul Mannan v. State of Tripura, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 144, decided on 17-03-2021]
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.