Decided on June 07,1991

JAGAT RAM Respondents


- (1.) The sole question arising for determination of this Court is "whether a trial Court has misappreciated the evidence in recording the acquittal of the accused in the criminal case against him for the commission of the offence under Sections 41/42 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and under Ss. 379/411 of the Indian Penal Code". At the material time, PW-8 Jeet Singh and PW-10 Prem Parkash Sethi were Inspectors in Enforcement Department at Shimla, whereas S/ Shri Narain Singh and Chander Mani were the employees of the Forest Department. Shri Jagat Ram, accused was a forest lessee of Shimla Forest Division dealing in timber business at that time. On a secret information, PW-8 in the presence of PWs 6, 9 and 10 conducted a raid at Railway Station, Shoghi on 2-6-1982 and found 205 scants of Kail Wood of different sizes lying in the yard of Railway Station. The said scants were bearing "C.T." KHUDAN mark. However, no property mark or export mark was affixed on any one of them. Enquiry revealed that the said KHUDAN mark had been allotted by the concerned Forest Division to the accused. As the aforesaid timber was being exported in contravention of the Himachal Pradesh Forest Produce Transit (Land Routes) Rules, 1978 (hereinafter referred to as Rules) framed under Sections 41 and 42 of the Indian Forest Act, the entire timber so found was seized on the spot through memo Ex. P/ 2 and given on sapurdari to PW-1 Shri Lila Dutt through memo EX.PA. Resultantly, Ruqqa EX. PW- 7/ A was sent by PW-8 to the Police Station. Enforcement, Shimla for the registration of a criminal case against the accused, whereupon a formal First Information Report EX. PW- 71 B was recorded. On completion of investigation, the accused was prosecuted for the commission of the aforesaid offences which resulted in the framing of the charge against him. The accused pleaded, not guilty and claimed to be tried.
(2.) The explanation of the accused under Section 313, Cr.P.C. is that he was a forest lessee at the material time and had number of permits subsisting during the year 1982; that he transported the timber to Railway Station, Shoghi on the basis of permits issued by the officials of the Shimla Forest Division in accordance with the Rules and his timber so exported bore KHUDAN mark C.T. as also property mark CTB, referred to above. The accused disowned the seized timber and further stated that it was not transported by him to Shoghi Railway Station.
(3.) After recording the prosecution evidence and hearing the parties to the case, the trial Court recorded an order of acquittal. Feeling aggrieved with the aforesaid order, the State has come up in this appeal.;

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