STATE OF CHHATTISGARH Vs. HARI PRASAD RATHOR
HIGH COURT OF CHHATTISGARH
STATE OF CHHATTISGARH
Hari Prasad Rathor
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(1.) BY this writ petition the State of Chhattisgarh through Conservator of forest and the Collector has questioned the legality of the order dated 17.11.2000 passed by the 1st Additional District Judge, Bilaspur in an appeal filed against the order of Conservative of Forest dated 2.9.1996 whereby learned Additional District Judge allowed the appeal and set aside the order of Licensing Officer dated 5.7.1991 and the appeallate order of Conservator of Forest dated 2.9.1996 passed in appeal. Vide order dated 5.7.1991 the Licensing Officer passed a confiscation order of 72 pieces of the sized wood and also confiscated the saw machine.
(2.) BRIEF facts necessary for the disposal of this writ petition are that the respondent herein was the owner of a saw mill situated at village Sioni. District Janjgir Champa and that saw mill was operating under the license granted by the Licensing Authority under the Chhattisgarh Kastha Chiran (Vinyaman) Adhiniyam, 1984 (hereinafter referred to as the Adhiniyam, 1984.) On 19.9.90, the Range Officer of the Forest Department inspected the saw mill and he noticed that 72 pieces of wood were lying in the saw mill of respondent. On inspection, the entry of the said wood was not found in the relevant register maintained under the Adhiniyam, 1984 and even no satisfactory explanation about the said wood pieces were given, as such the Range Officer considering that the said wood pieces are illegal, seized the same and he also seized the wheel of saw machine. He reported the matter to the Divisional Forest Officer Korba upon which the Divisional Forest Officer, Korba issued show cause notice to the respondent herein on 24.1.91 asking him to explain that he has contravened the provisions of Section 9 of the Adhiniyam 1984. Reply of the same was filed by the respondent herein vide Annexure - P/7 on 31.1.91 wherein he mentioned that 72 pieces of wood which were found in the saw mill were of one Bhagirathi, resident of Champa. He further mentioned that the saw mill is operating only from January to May and for other months it remains closed and at the relevant time he was at Bilaspur. The saw mill is being operated by him by engaging private persons and during the night, they do not remain in the saw mill, therefore, in the night somebody brought the wood and kept it in the saw mill. On enquiry, he was informed that the said wood belong to the carpenter of Champa. Had he come to know about this fact before going to Bilaspur, he could have reported the matter to Range Officer, Champa. There is some dispute with the villagers (since last 4-5 years) and on account of that this act has been done by the said person. In the last, he mentioned that he may be pardoned for the first mistake and he will not commit any mistake in future. Thereafter, the statement of respondent was recorded and the statement of Bhagirath was also recorded. The Licensing Officer reached to the conclusion that the explanation offered by the respondent herein was not satisfactory and ultimately, passed the order dated 5-7-91 confiscating the wood and the saw machine.
(3.) BEING aggrieved by the said order the respondent preferred an appeal before the Conservator of Forest and Conservator of Forest dismissed the appeal on the ground of delay. Thereafter, he moved an appeal before the Additional District Judge and the same was allowed on 21-12-95 remanding the matter to the appellate authority to decide the appeal on merit. The appeal was also heard on merit and the same was dismissed. Being aggrieved by the said order, the respondent again preferred an appeal which came to be decided by the impugned order dated 17-11-2000.;
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