STATE OF KARNATAKA Vs. K A KUNCHINDAMMED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KARNATAKA)
STATE OF KARNATAKA
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D. P. Mohapatra, J. -
(2.)The question that arises for determination in this appeal is - which authority has the power to pass order for interim release of the forest produce seized under the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 (for short 'the Act'). Is it the Authorized Officer under the Act or the Magistrate under the Code of Criminal Procedure
(3.)The facts of the case relevant for appreciating the question may be stated thus :
A lorry bearing registration No. KL-10-J-1728 carrying 5 barrels of sandalwood oil weighing 136.5 kgs. was seized by the officials of the Forest Mobile Squad, Udupi on 2nd of March 2000 on the allegation of illegal transportation of the forest produce. FIR NO. 08437 OR No. 108/99-2000 was registered on the same day. On 3rd March, 2000 a report about the seizure was submitted to the Authorized Officer and Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kundapur, under Section 71-A of the Act. By order of the Authorised Officer dated 7th March, 2000 custody of the seized material and the vehicle was entrusted to the Range Forest Officer, Udupi as whereabouts of the driver of the vehicle and its owner were not known to the Authorised Officer. Attempts were made to get the particulars from office of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) concerned in the State of Kerala. Having failed to get any response from the RTO the Authorised Officer got published a notice on 31st August, 2000 for information of all concerned particularly, the persons interested in the goods seized. The notice was published in the daily newspaper 'Udayavani' on 18-9-2000. Nobody came forward to claim either the seized sandalwood oil or the vehicle. Thereafter the authorized officer by order dated 31-10-2000 ordered confiscation of the seized vehicle and sandalwood oil. The said order was published in the official gazette on 9th November, 2000 and also published in the newspaper 'Udayavani's on 15-11-2000. The order was not challenged in appeal under Section 71-D of the Act or in any other proceeding. The order of confiscation stood confirmed under Section 71-F of the Act. The order of confiscation as confirmed was been published in the official gazette on 4th January, 2001.
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