Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Rajani Dubey, J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are that a tractor and trolley was found carrying illegal timber woods in Tamor Pingla Sanctuary Area, Sarguja Forest Circle, Ambikapur. The said vehicle was driven by driver and the owner of the vehicle was also present. After interrogation by the Forest Officer, an offence punishable under Sections 27, 29, 31, 50 & 52 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and Section 26 (1) (e) (f) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 was registered against the driver and owner of the said and thereafter the said vehicle including timbers was seized. Thereafter, show cause notice was given regarding confiscation of the vehicle and finding the reply unsatisfactory, confiscation order was passed. Against the said order of confiscation, the petitioner filed appeal before the respondent 2, which was dismissed, against which the petitioner filed criminal revision before the learned 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Ambikapur, District Sarguja which too was dismissed. Hence, present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the accused persons have been acquitted by the Criminal Court, thus no offence has been proved against the petitioner and therefore the proceeding of confiscation of the vehicle is illegal and arbitrary.

The Court observed that a bare reading of Section 52, Indian Forest Act, 1927 makes it clear that Forest Officer has power to confiscate the vehicle and the Competent Authority after giving show cause notice to the petitioner.

The Court observed that the  ASJ in the impugned order clearly held that criminal trial and confiscation proceedings may run simultaneously and once the information of confiscation proceeding under Section 52 (e) of the Indian Forest Act is given to the District Magistrate, then the Trial Magistrate has no power regarding confiscated vehicle of being released, disposed etc. and it has been further held that the information of confiscation proceeding was already given to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ambikapur and the accused were given ample opportunity of being heard and only thereafter the orders were passed and thereby dismissed the criminal revision of the petitioner.

The Court held “the finding of the learned ASJ that the criminal trial and confiscation proceeding are different proceedings and they may run simultaneously and even after acquittal of the accused persons, the vehicle was found to be involved in transportation of illegal timbers and the same was liable to be confiscated and the accused were given ample opportunity of being heard, is based on proper appreciation of provisions of law and facts as well, which cannot be interfered with by this Court.”

[Gend Lal Kushwaha v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 617, decided on 01-04-2022]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Tripura High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

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.