Decided on July 31,2013

Mawkhap Village Appellant
Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council; Chief Executive Member; Secretary, Executive Committee; Chief Forest Officer And Ors Respondents


- (1.) The present writ petition was filed as late as 2012 for quashing the impugned orders passed far back on 03.02.1996 and 19.02.1996 respectively; and in the writ petition which consists of 24 paras did not mention any plausible reasons for the delay of about 17 years in filing the present writ petition. The writ petitioner was in a deep slumber and waken up after 17 years like a Rip Van Winkle for challenging the impugned orders which were passed on 03.02.1996 and 19.02.1996 respectively. The door of the temple of justice is opened to the litigants, who are due diligent to their rights to assess to justice and not to the litigants who are hopelessly lethargic and lack of bonafide in approaching to the temple of justice. The present writ petition is one filed by the writ petitioner after sleeping over his right for 17 years to seek appropriate remedy against the impugned orders dated 03.02.1996 and 19.02.1996; and as there is no explanation as to why he had been sleeping for the last 17 years, the writ petition is liable to be dismissed only on this score. The lack of bonafide of the writ petitioner in filing the present writ petition is being discussed in the later parts of the judgment.
(2.) Heard Mr. HL Shangreiso, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and Mr. VGK Kynta, learned senior counsel for the respondents No.1- 5, Mr.L Lyngdoh, learned counsel for the respondent No.6 and Mr. HS Thangkhiew, learned senior counsel assisted by Mr. P Nongbri, learned counsel for the respondent No.7.
(3.) Factual background:- The land-in-question i.e. "Mawsngi" (suit land) is situated within the Sixth Schedule Areas under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (for short "KHADC?). It is the case of both the parties that "Mawsngi" is situated in the areas under Jyrngam Sirdarship. It is stated in the writ petition that Jyrngam Sardarship comprises of villages, namely, (i) Mawsngi (ii) Tynghor (iii) Mawmareh (iv) Mawthaw Krah (v) Umthlong (vi) Mawkhap (vii) Langja (viii) Umthlu (ix) Ktieh Thawiar (x) Khyllem Sangrin (xi) Mawribah (xii) Domjarani (xiii) Nongkhlain (xiv) Nongthymai and (xv) Mawjari. The villagers of the said villages derive their source of livelihood from jhum cultivation in the Raid Forests looked after by the heads of the Raid under the management of the local administrative head. There is no private forest or recognized private land (Ri Kynti) belonging to an individual or specific clan in the areas under Jyrngam Sirdarship. Under Section 3 of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Management & Control of Forest) Act, 1958 (for short "the Act of 1958?), there are classifications of forests. Section 3 of the Act of 1958 reads as follows:- "3. Classification of Forest:- The forests to which this Act applies are classified under the following categories:- (i) (a) Private Forest:- These are forests belonging to an individual or clan or joints clan which are grown or inherited by him or them in recognized private lands (Ri Kynti); (b) Law-Ri-Sumar:- These are forests belonging to an individual clan or joint clans (which are grown (or inherited) by him or them in a village or common raj land. (ii) Law Lyngdoh, Law Kyntang, Law Niam:- These are forests set apart on religious purpose and hitherto managed or controlled by the Lyngdoh on other person or person to whom the religious ceremonies for the particular locality or village or villagers are entrusted. (iii) Law-adong and Law-shnong:- These are village forests hitherto reserved by the villagers themselves for conserving water, etc; for the use of the villages and managed by the Sirdar or headmen with the help of the Village Durbar. (iv) Protected Forests:- These are areas already declared protected for the growth of trees for the benefit of the local inhabitants and also forests that may be so declared by rules under this Act. (v) Green Block:- These are forests belonging to an individual family or clan or joint clans and raj lands already declared as Green Block by Government for aesthetic beauty and water supply of the town of Shillong and its suburbs and also forests that may be so declared by rules under this Act. (vi) Raid Forests:- These are forest [looked after] By the heads of the Raid under the [management] of the local administrative head. [ ] (vii) District Council Reserved Forests:- These are forests that by be so declared by the Executive Committee under this Act or the rules made-thereunder. (viii) Unclassed Forests:- These are forests hitherto known as Unclassed State Forests before the commencement of the Constitution of India directly managed and controlled by the Government including any other forest(s) not falling within any of the above classification." ;

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