GOPINDER SINGH Vs. FOREST DEPARTMENT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: HIMACHAL PRADESH)
FOREST DEPARTMENT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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Kuldip Singh, J. -
(1.)"Nautor land" under Rule 3 of the Himachal Pradesh Nautor Land Rules, 1968 (hereinafter called 'Rules') means the right to utilize with the sanction of the competent authority, waste land owned by the Government outside the towns, outside the reserved and demarcated protected forests, and outside such other areas as may be notified from time to time by the State Government.
(2.)Gopinder Singh applied for the grant of nautor land measuring 14 bighas 12 biswas situated in village Kanal for cultivation. The Revenue Assistant Chopal vide his order dated June 29, 1972 sanctioned nautor land measuring 11 bighas 1 biswas situated in village Kanal to him on payment of Rupees 552.50 as Nazardna. The Forest Department filed an appeal against the said order before the Deputy Commissioner Simla which was accepted and the order of the Revenue Assistant Chopal sanctioning nautor land in favour of Gopinder Singh was set aside.
(3.)Gopinder Singh filed further appeal to Divisional Commissioner, Himachal Pradesh at Simla who accepted the same and vide his order dated September 9, 1974 restored the grant of nautor land to Gopinder Singh. The Forest Department filed revision petition before the Financial commissioner (Revenue Appeals) Himachal Pradesh who accepted the revision petition and set aside the order dated September 9, 1974 of the Divisional Commissioner sanctioning nautor land to Gopinder Singh. He further ordered that the amount of Nazarana should be refunded to Gopinder Singh and the land resumed to the State. The Financial Commissioner accepted the appeal on the following two grounds: (1) Gopinder Singh felled the trees on the land without waiting for necessary approval of the Divisional Forest Officer and as such he took the law in his own hands.
(2) Being a teacher in a Government school drawing monthly emoluments of more than Rs.650/- p.m. his economic condition was reasonably good and as such he was not eligible for the grant of nautor land under the Rules.
Against the order of the Financial Commissioner Gopinder Singh filed Civil Writ Petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India before the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Simla which was dismissed in limine on July 28, 1981. This appeal by special leave is by appellant Gopinder Singh against the orders of the Financial Commissioner and of the High Court.
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