S ABDUL SHUKKOOR SAHIB Vs. DISTRICT FOREST OFFICER CHITTOOR
LAWS(APH)-1969-10-9
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on October 06,1969

S.ABDUL SHUKKOOR SAHIB Appellant
VERSUS
DISTRICT FOREST OFFICER, CHITTOOR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.)Against an order dated 11-5-1965 of the Forest Settlement Officer, Chittoor under Section 10 of the Madras Forest Act, the District Forest Officer intending to prefer an appeal sent a memorandum of Appeal by post on 5-1-1966. This memorandum of appeal was returned by the District Court as it could only be presented either in person or through Pleader. After it was returned to the District Foreset Offcer, the appeal was filed regularly through the Government Pleader on 25-3-1966 Later an application to condone the delay in preferring the appeal was also filed before the District Court. The learned District Judge condoned the delay on the ground that it was due to ignorance of the prescribed legal procedure and not wanton or wilful In this application for issue of a writ, the order of the District Judge condoning the delay in the presentation of the appeal is questioned,
(2.)Sri Venugopal Reddy, learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that under Section 10 of the Forest Act the power to condone the delay in preferring an appeal is vested in the Government and not in the Court. Section 10 of the Forest Act provides for consideration of the claims preferred to the Forest Settlement Officer. Section 10 (ii) of the Act is as follows :
"If such claim is rejected wholly or in part, the claimant may within thirty days from the date of the order, prefer an appeal to the District Court in respect of such rejection only, provided that the Government may, on just and reasonable cause for the same being shown, extend the period for such appeal within such further period as may seem proper and an order or endorsement under the signature of one of the Secretaries to Government shall be sufficient authority for the said court to entertain such appeal beyond the limit above specified";
This provision gives to a claimant a right to prefer an appeal to the District Court within thirty days. The Government however is given the power to extend the time for preferring an appeal Section 10 (iii) which enables the Government to prefer an appeal does not itself refer to any period of limitation within which an appeal may be preferred or to any uthority who may condone the delay in preferring an appeal. The learned Government Pleader relies upon this circumstance and argues that there is no period of limitation within which an appeal may be preferred by the Government., I do not agree with this submission. Section 10 (iii) of the Act says "a like appeal" may be preferred on behalf of the Government by the Forest officer. The words 'a like appeal' obviously refer to the appeal mentioned in Section 10 (ii) of the Act subject to the same conditions and restrictions to which an appeal under Section 10 (i) subject. To my mind, that appears to be the only way of construing the words 'a like appeal'. If all that was intended was merely to give a right of appeal to the Government, instead of the words "a like appeal" the words "an appeal" would have sufficed, Therefore, I am of the view that while an appeal may be preferred on behalf of the Government by the Forest Officer, that must be done within thirty days as in the case of an appeal by a claimant under Section 10 (ii) of the Act and if the appeal is not preferred within such time, it is open to the Government to extend the time for preferring an appeal. In that view, the learned District Judge had no jurisdiction to condone the delay in preferring the appeal in the instant case. The order of the learned District Judge is therefore quashed, It will, of course, be open to the Government to extend the period of limitation to prefer an appeal and issue necessary order or endorsement contemplated by Section 10 (ii) of the Act to enable the Forest officer to prefer an appeal.
(3.)The Writ petition is accordingly allowed, but in the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.
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