HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
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(1.) THIS is a revision against an order of the S.D.O. Kotputli, dated 30.7.1953, in a case under see. 6 of the Rajasthan (Removal of Trees) Ordinance, 1949.
(2.) WE have heard the parties and have examined the record. The report regarding the alleged offence was submitted before the Tehsildar, Bairath, who held a detailed enquiry in the matter and submitted the record to the S.D.O. Kotputli with the recommendation that Babulal be fined Rs.50/-for illegally cutting down the trees besides being required him to pay Rs. 394/-as price of the trees removed. The S. D. O. could not take up the case on as many as 16 dates of hearing for one reason or the other. None of the persons concerned, however appeared before the S. D. O. nor was any enquiry made by him in the matter. Not a single witness was, however, examined by him. Nevertheless on 30.7.1953, he passed the following cryptic order; - "Perused the report of the Tehsildar which is in detail and proper. The same is sanctioned. Record be returned to the Tehsildar concerned for compliance."
We cannot condemn too severely the procedure adopted by the learned S. D. O. in deciding the case. The elementary requirement of a judicial trial is that the trial court should base its findings on evidence recorded by it and the person charged against should be afforded an opportunity to put up his plea and substantiate the same. This clearly means that first of all the evidence of the parties should be brought on record by the trial court. Thereafter it should be considered with a view to determine the commission of the alleged offence or otherwise and the complicity of the persons involved in it. This duty of recording and considering the evidence cannot be delegated to any subordinate officer. Is the Tehsildar had recorded evidence or held a preliminary enquiry in the case, the S. D. O. should ignore it and was duty bound to hold a fresh enquiry himself. On the basis of that enquiry alone he should have arrived at his own findings independently of those reported to him by the Tehsildar. As pointed out above, the learned S. D. O. in this case contented himself with merely accepting the recommendation of the Tehsildar without even applying his mind to the facts of the case leaving aside the recording of any evidence by himself. The learned Government advocate has frankly conceded his inability to support the decision of the lower court. We would, therefore, allow this revision, set aside the order of the lower court and remand the' case back to the S. D. O. concerned with the direction that it be tried and decided afresh in the light of the observations made above.;
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