SAHU TIMBER TRADING COMPANY Vs. STATE OF C.G.
HIGH COURT OF CHHATTISGARH
SAHU TIMBER TRADING COMPANY
STATE OF C G AND ORS
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(1.) By this writ petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India the Petitioner has questioned the legality, proprietary and correctness of the order dated 7-2-2004 (Annexure P-ll) passed by Respondent No. 3 -Divisional Forest Officer and also order dated 14-7-2004 (Annexure P-13) passed by Respondent No. 2 - Conservator of Forest in appeal as Appellate Authority.
(2.) Brief facts leading to filing of this writ petition are that in the year 1986 the Petitioner was permitted to set up a saw mill machine at Pendra. On 21-2-2003, 12-12-2003 and 13-12-2003 the authorized Range Officers of Gorilla and Pendras inspected the Petitioner - Saw Mill. As per the allegations, on inspection of the saw mill by these officers on 2-2-2003, 239 pieces of Beeja slippers and 45 pieces of Kamhar slippers were found, on 13-12-2003 forty green slippers of Mango, Jamun, and Karhi-Kathal trees and 514 green pieces of mixed tree logs were found and the Beeja slippers which were lying in the Petitioner Saw Mill were found to be of Coupe-V Pidha area, the numbers recorded by the forest department were present on these slippers, the Kamhar logs were stolen from the forest area & brought to the Petitioner Mill illegally and were sawn there. On this Crime Nos. 801/25 and 814/01 dated 31-12-2003 were registered and on enquiry it was found that Beeza and Kamhar logs were stolen from the forest area, whereas other pieces of wood i.e. Mango, Jamun and Karhi-Kathal were brought from the private persons, which were cut illegally. After preliminary enquiry, a report was submitted to Respondent No. 3 - Divisional Forest Officer, who in turn issued show cause notice on 31-12-2003 and again on 15-1-2004 to the Petitioner and asked him to explain as to why license of Petitioner should not be cancelled/ suspended.
(3.) Reply of the same was submitted by the Petitioner vide Annexure P-4 in which it was stated that Beeza and Kamhar logs were purchased by them on 19-6-2002, 18-10-2002, 19-12-2002 and 12-9-2001 in the auction by the Forest Department and other woods i.e. Jamun, Mango and Karhi-kathal were brought to their saw mill by the farmers with the permission of the respective Sarpanchas for the purpose of sawing. However, dissatisfied with the reply filed by the Petitioner and based on the preliminary enquiry report and other documents, Respondent No. 3 reached to the conclusion that Beeza and Khamar tree logs were stolen from the forest area, same being fresh and green, whereas the papers produced by the Petitioner regarding purchase were of the year 2002, other tree logs were cut without permission and transported illegally by the private persons to the Petitioner. Accordingly, the Petitioner was held guilty under Sections 8 and 9 of C.G. Kastha Chiran (Vininiyam) Adhiniyam, 1984 (hereinafter shall be referred as to 'the Adhiniyam of 1984') and an order was passed for suspension of license of Petitioner-Saw Mill w.e.f. 1-1-2004 to 31-12-2004, fine of Rs. 5,000/- under Section 9 of the Adhiniyam of 1984 was imposed. Similarly, seized woods were also confiscated to the Government account. Being aggrieved by this order the Petitioner-Mill filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority-Respondent No. 2, which also came to be dismissed by the Appellate Authority vide order-dated 14-7-2004 (Annexure P-13).;
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