MANILAL RANCHHODDAS Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
STATE OF GUJARAT
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(1.)The plaintiffs who are contractors in respect of trees in forest areas of villages of Gad-Boriad and Wagach Jagir having lost in first round of litigation which resulted into decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Manvinkurve v. Madhavsinghji AIR 1965 SC 1747 have tried to reagitate the same question by filing suit before the trial Court. They lost in the suit and hence this appeal.
(2.)The appellant-plaintiffs filed a Special Civil Suit in the Court of Civil Judge (S D). Baroda praying that order dated 27/03/1965 (Ex. 70) passed by the Divisional Forest Officer Chhota Udaipur cancelling the authorisation granted earlier on November 16 and 28 1964 for cutting trees and bamboos from the forest area and restraining them from taking away the woods and directing them not to cut wood from the forest area in future was illegal and void. It was also prayed that the order passed by the Divisional Forest Officer directing to pay Rs. 37 6 and Rs. 10 178 was illegal and void and that they were entitled to refund of the aforesaid amount. The respondent-State resisted the suit on facts as well as on law points. The plaintiffs lost in trial Court and hence the appeal by the plaintiffs.
(3.)Facts in brief: In respect of the 52 villages situated within Gad-Boriad Jagir Naswadi taluka and in respect of 36 villages situated in the area of Wagach Jagir plaintiff No. 2 (who is the partner of plaintiff No. 1 firm) had entered into contract with the Jagirdar. Under the contract he was entitled to cut woods and remove the same. It appears that there was previous litigation in respect of the contract pertaining to 36 villages between the same parties. On 1/08/1954 the Bombay Merged Territories and Areas (Jagir Abolition) Act 1953 came into force. Thereafter on 6/07/1956 the State Government issued notification under Sec. 34A of the Indian Forest Act 1927 and declared uncultivated land in the 39 villages of Wagach Jagir to be the forest land for the purpose of Chapter V of the Act. Thereupon the Divisional Forest Officer informed the contractors including the plaintiff that the Jagirs had been abolished and the reserved space and the trees standing on the land belong to the State Government and therefore they were restrained from cutting teak and Pancharao trees standing in the aforesaid land. The Divisional Forest Officer had taken follow up action and restrained the plaintiff and other persons from cutting woods from the forest area in question. Therefore the plaintiff and others challenged the legality and validity of the action of the Divisional Forest Officer by filing Special C. A. No. 2146 of 1958 in the High Court of Bombay. The High Court partly upheld the claim of the petitioners therein. The matter was carried to the Supreme Court by the State Government which reversed the judgment of the High Court and decided the case in favour of the Government (The decision is reported in (Manvinkurve v. Madhavsinghji) AIR 1965 SC 1747).
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