BATEHALA PANDIAH AND OTHERS Vs. A.P. SCHEDULED TRIBES CORPORATION LTD. AND OTHERS
LAWS(APH)-1969-8-24
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on August 28,1969

Batehala Pandiah And Others Appellant
VERSUS
A.P. Scheduled Tribes Corporation Ltd. And Others Respondents




JUDGEMENT

KUPPUSWAMY,J. - (1.)The Plaintiff in O.S. No. 40 of 1962 in the Court of the Agent to the Government and the District Collector, East Godavari Kakinada are the appellants. Plaintiffs 1 ans 2 are the residents of Rampachodavaram agency division in the East Godavari District and are tribals. Plaintiffs 3 and 4 who are the residents of Gokavaram village in the Rajahmundry taluk are carrying on trade in forest produce in the agency area.
(2.)The case of the plaintiffs as disclosed in the plaint, is as follows:-
As per the provisions of the Madras Forest Act and the Rules framed thereunder for the management of Reserved forests and unreserved forests of the Rempa agency in the East Godavari District and according to the agreed covenants, engagements and guarantees given by the Government to the tribals at the time of the Rampa Mutiny, all the permanent residents of the Rampa Agency including the plaintiffs 1 and 2 are entitled to gather the minor forest produce throughout the Bald area free of charge and without permits. Accordingly they bad been in enjoyment of the minor forest produce and have been selling them to whom soever they liked in the open market. The purchaser plaintiffs 3 and 4 have to remove the goods under the rules from the market where they have purchased on payment of seigniorage fees to the Government. In this state of affairs, the State Government granted a lease in favour of the first defendant for the year 1960-61 as per G.O. Rt. No. 1 (Agriculture Department) Government of Andhra Pradesh, dated 1-1-1961, where under the first defendant was granted a right to collect the seigniorage fees during that year from purchasers of minor forest produce on all items except soap-nuts and myrabolans collected by the tribals from various Agency areas, Including the unreserves of the Rampa Agency subject to a rental of Rs. 8,325/-. According to the plaintiffs that lease was renewed for a period of six years in favour of the first defendant as per G.O. No. 142, Agricultural Department, dated 23-1-1962, and even under this G.O. It was only the right to collect the seigniorage fees at specified rates that was granted in respect of the minor forest produce in the Rampa Agency. The first defendant is a registered society Among the objects of the society are to purchase out-right the produce brought by the members of the Scheduled Tribes through the agency of any primary marketing society and market it to the best advantage and for this purpose to take up various contracts for procurement of minor forest produce from the Government. Any Marketing society for the members of the Scheduled Tribes registered under the Marketing Societies Act situate within the area of operations is eligible for admission as a member. Individuals taking interest in the welfare of the members of the Scheduled Tribes not exceeding to may also be admitted as members. The second defendant is a marketing society represented by its manager. The case of the plaintiffs is that these defendants have been proclaiming that by reason of the G.O. Ms. No. 142, dated 23-1-1962, the entire minor forest produce in the Rampa Agency should be sold to them by the tribals at the rates fixed by them and that the tribals cannot sell that to any other person at rates acceptable to them. The plaintiffs contended that the State Government itself had no monopoly over the minor forest produce in the unreserves of the Rampa Agency and it had recognised and accepted the unqualified rights of the Tribals over the minor forest produce in that area subject to certain regulations, with regard to the place of sale and method of transport. It was therefore, not possible for them to grant a larger right to the defendants, than what the Government had. On the plain terms of the G.O. construed in the light of the powers that the lessor had, what was granted to the defendants was only a right to collect the seigniorage fees. It purported to grant larger rights than even the Government bad, the G.O. was Ultra Vires, the powers of the State Government and was invalid and inoperative.

(3.)The Plaintiffs, therefore, prayed for.
(a) A declaration that the lease hold granted by the State Government to the first defendant consists of a "mere right to collect seigniorage" from the purchasers of the minor forest produce in the unreserves of the Rampa Agency and that the Tribals in the Rampa Agency have a right to sell the minor forest produce in the unreserves of the Rampa Agency at the notified shandies to whomsoever they liked and that the purchasers are entitled to remove the minor forest produce so purchased on payment of seigniorage to the defendants :

(b) for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants and their officials from in any manner interfering with the plaintiffs' exercise and enjoyment of the rights declared under clause (a).

;


Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.