SITARAM JAGATRAMKA Vs. KING
HIGH COURT OF PATNA
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MAHABIR PRASAD, J. -
(1.) THE petitioners were tried by a Magistrate, First Class, Jamshedpur, and convicted for having contravened the provisions of Section 21, Bihar Private Forests Act and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 10 each, and in default to suffer simple imprisonment for a days each. They have also been directed to pay Rs. 6 as damage for the destruction caused by them under Section 12 (3), Bihar Private Forests Act.
(2.) WHAT is alleged against them by the prosecution in that they cut and cleared the forest situated in village Ghosda and uprooted the stumps of the trees in that forest which by a notification under s Id (c), Bihar Private Forests -Act, was declared to be constituted as a private protected forest. It appears that a Notification No. 6358 -VI -F -84, dated 8th July 1946 was issued, by Government under Section l4(c) of the Act declaring that it was proposed to constitute such forest as mentioned therein as a private protected forest The notification was published at the spot on 27th September 1940 by a heat of drum. A report was submitted by the forest guard on 7th November 1916 to the Forest Department stating that the petitioners were found uprooting the stamps and otherwise damaging the forest. On such report being submitted, a complaint was lodged by the Forest Department against these petitioners before the Sub -divisional Officer of Dhalbhum on 15th November 1946. The petitioners were summoned, tried and convicted as already stated. As the sentence passed was unappealable, an application was filed before the Sessions Judge by the petitioners for a reference to this Court. The learned Additional Sessions Judge refused to refer the case to this Court. Hence this application in revision.
This matter was originally placed before his Lordship the Chief Justice sitting singly who on account of the importance of the questions raised in the case ordered it to be placed before a Division Bench.
(3.) PETITIONER 1 and petitioner 2 are directors of Messrs. Pharat Sebai Grass Ltd., a company registered under the Indian Companies Act having its registered office at 71 Cross Street, Calcutta, and other petitioners are employees of this company. On 30th June 1946 this company took settlement of 329 bighas of lands from one Bhagat Chandra Adhikari and others with the rights to cut, clear and reclaim the aforesaid lands, the proprietors Adhikaris agreeing to execute a deed of lease subsequently. This agreement was contained in a note dated 30th June 1946. On 8th July 1916 Government notification under Section 14, Bihar Private Forests Act was issued. This notification provided that any landlords whose interest was likely to be affected by the declaration of the forest as private forest were to apply within three months from the date of the notification to the Deputy Commissioner of Singhbhum by an application in writing stating their objections to the said forest being constituted as a private protected forest, Simultaneously with this notification, there was also an order issued by the Provincial Government under Section 21, Bihar Private Forests Act prohibiting, subject to certain conditions and exceptions as specified in the order, the cutting, collection, and removal of any trees or any class of trees in the forest in respect of which the notification under Section 14 declaring that the forest was proposed to be constituted a private protected forest was being issued. The petitioners have been convicted and sentenced as stated above for having disobeyed this order of the Provincial Government. The notification under S 14 and the order under s 21 were proclaimed by a beat of drum on the spot on 27th September 1916. Rajni Kant Adhikari, one of the lessors of the petitioners' company, lodged an objection before the Deputy Commissioner., Singhbhum, on 7th October 1946 against the lands being declared as a forest area and the Bihar Private Forests Act being made applicable to them. He also informed the authorities that ho had given the aforesaid lands in lease to the petitioners' company, and that the petitioners' company were cultivating them. It appears that under Sub -section (2) of Section 21, Bihar Private Forests Act the order contemplated in Sub -section (i) of the said section has to be published in the neighbourhood of the said forest in the prescribed manner, that is to say, in the manner prescribed by the rules framed under the Act. It appears that the rules for publishing the orders passed under Section 21 of the Act were framed and published on 21st October 1946. There was no fresh publication of the order under Section 21 of the Act in accordance with the rules prescribing the manner of publication of such an order. On 7th November 1916 the present occurrence is alleged to have taken place. In the Bihar Gazntte dated 17th July 1946 notification No. 6353 -VI -F -84R, dated 8th July 1916 was published. A reference to the Gazette of the data publishing the notification shows that this notification was not authenticated in the manner specified in rules made by the Governor in that behalf, for, it does not bear at the end the usual signature of a Secretary under the endorsement "by order of the Governor of Bihar.";
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