Decided on March 26,2021

STATE OF BIHAR Respondents


MADHURESH PRASAD,J. - (1.) The writ application has been filed seeking quashing of the order dated 28.04.2020 passed by the Principal Secretary to the Government of Bihar, in the Department of Environment and Forest, in Forest Revision Case No.5 of 2018, by which the revision application has been dismissed, affirming the order dated 01.09.2017 of the District Magistrate, Rohtas in Forest Confiscation Appeal Case No.50 of 2015. The order dated 05.10.2015 passed by the Authorized Officer-cum-Divisional Forest Officer, Rohtas Forest Division, in Confiscation Case No.158 of 2015(A) has also been assailed.
(2.) The brief factual background is that the Forester, Darigaon, as per the prosecution report, was patrolling in Basantpur protected forest area on 17.08.2015. He spotted two vehicles laden with stone metal and boulders leaving the forest area. He chased the trucks and informed the Station House Officer, Nokha Police Station on mobile phone regarding the two trucks. Accordingly the trucks were intercepted on Sasaram-Ara road with the help of police team. 500 Cubic Feet (C.Ft.) stone metal was found laden on the truck. It appeared to be converted/hand broken stones. Since the hand broken stones were brought from the Basantpur protected forest, the truck, bearing Registration No.JH- 02P-7074, laden with 500 C.Ft. stone metal was seized by the Forester under Section 52(1) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') for violation of Sections 33, 41 and 42 of the Act. Forest Case No.77F/15 was thus instituted. The Range Officer of Forests, Sasaram Forest Range requested the Authorized Officer-cum-Divisional Forest Officer (Respondent No.4) by his communication dated 20.08.2015 to initiate confiscation proceeding against the seized vehicle and forest produce as per Section 52(3) of the Act. Confiscation Case No.158 of 2015 thus came into existence. Intimation regarding the same was communicated to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rohtas as per Section 52(4)(a) of the Act. Notice as contemplated under Section 52(4)(b) and (c) of the Act was served against unknown by the Respondent No.4 under communication dated 10.09.2015 (Annexure R/2 to the counter affidavit.)
(3.) Petitioner replied to the said notice on 11.09.2015. He appeared in the hearing of the case. He was afforded hearing. By order dated 05.10.2015, the Divisional Forest Officer confiscated the truck, bearing Registration No.JH-02P-7074, and 500 C.Ft. stone.;

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