Decided on July 03,1997

State of Himachal Respondents


KAMLESH SHARMA, J. - (1.)THE petitioner is working in the Forest Department of the State of Himachal Pradesh. He was posted as Block Officer, Panjal Block Bharwain Range in Una Forest Division from 1979 to 31.8.1982. In the year 1980 under the instructions and orders of the Divisional Forest Officer, the petitioner seized 285 tins of resin from one Ram Nath, Forest Contractor and handed them over in Sapurdari to one Sawaya Ram resident of village Abheypur and handed over the original documents of seizure and Sapurdari to the Divisional Forest Officer, Una. Later on, vide Permit No. 135 -R/81/82 dated 7.4.1981, 135 tins out of 285 tins of resin were permitted to be sold and the sale proceeds were handed over to the Range Officer, Bharwain. The balance of 150 tins of resin remained in the Sapurdari of said Sawaya Ram. The petitioner was transferred from Panjal Block on 31.8.1982 and he handed over the charge to one Shankar Dass, Block Officer.
(2.)THEREAFTER on 30.5.1985, 111 tins of resin without any mark were recovered from the house of one Gulab Mohammad, for which he had no permit or permission. He was charged and tried for the offence under Section 411 I.P.C. read with Section 14 of the H.P. Resin and Resin Produce (Regulation and Trade) Act, but acquitted accepting his defence that the recovered resin tins belonged to Ram Nath, Forest Contractor, which were seized and handed over in Sapurdari to Sawaya Ram, who had kept them in the house of Gulam Mohammad after taking it on rent.
(3.)WHILE delivering his judgment dated 30.1.1989 in the said criminal case, the Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Amb, District Una made following remarks against the petitioner in para No. 9 of his judgment : - "........ The record on file shows that there is a collusion between the then Block Officer Shri Braham Parkash and Shri Ram Nath a forest contractor. The resin tins actually belonged to the forest contractor Shri Ram Nath and were handed over in sapurdari to Shri Sawaya Ram by the Block Officer, Panjal who had the knowledge that these 11 tins of resin were without any mark and as such the possession of these tins by any one was illegal. ...... It is evident on record that the real culprits have not been brought to book by the prosecution. As per the record, the real culprits were Shri Ram Nath forest contractor and Shri Braham Parkash the then Block Officer, Panjal alongwith two forest guards namely Shri Thakur Dass and Paras Ram. These forest officials have actually helped the forest contractor Shri Ram Nath in smuggling out 111 tins of resin which were without any mark. The then Block Officer, Panjal knew at the time of handing over these tins to Shri Sawaya Ram on sapurdri that out of total tins of resin 111 tins of resin were without any mark. But instead of registering a case against the culprits or taking any action as a responsible officer of the forest department to bring the culprits to book, he has in fact concealed the offence and helped him in smuggling out 22 quintals of resin worth Rs. 18,260/ -. As such the conduct of this official is highly condemnable and calls for stringent action. The failure to perform, lawful duty on the part of Shri Braham Parkash, the then Block Officer, Panjal has led the accused, otherwise innocent, to suffer the agony of criminal trial for over three years."
Now the petitioner in this petition has prayed for expunction of these remarks on the ground that these were unfair, unnecessary and uncalled for, as his conduct as Block Officer, Panjal Block in respect of seizure an d sapurdari of tins of resin belonging to Ram Nath, Forest Contractor in the year 1980 was not the subject matter of the trial of accused Gulam Mohammad in the criminal case. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that neither the petitioner was witness in the said criminal case nor in any manner connected with it and he was not given any opportunity to explain what has been presumed against him by the Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate while making the impugned remarks. On the other hand, learned Additional Advocate General has not seriously opposed the prayer of the petitioner.

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