T.N.R. Tirumalpad, J.C.
1. The petitioner was convicted under Sections 224 and 324 I.P.C. and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 3 months under each count by the first class magistrate, Udaipur and the sentences were ordered to run concurrently. His appeal to the Sessions Judge was dismissed and he has come in revision to this Court.
2. The case which was found proved against the petitioner was that on 26-3-60 the petitioner was detected by the Plantation Watcher, P.W. 2, peeling off the barn of a Sal tree In the Mathpusharini village within the Chandrapur Reserve Forest after he had cut down the tree and that when P.W. 2 tried to arrest him for the said forest offence, the petitioner gave a blow with a dao on P.W. 2's right hand causing injury and then ran away from the place.
The petitioner's defence was one of alibi. Three witnesses namely, P.W. 1, a Forester, P.W. 2, the Plantation Watcher, who was the victim of the assault and P.W. 3, a Forest Guard, all of whom are eye-witnesses to the occurrence deposed about the occurrence and both the lower Courts were satisfied that their evidence was true. The petitioner examined 4 D.Ws. in support of his plea of alibi. But their evidence was disbelieved by both the lower Courts. This conclusion of the lower Courts was not seriously challenged in revision.
3. What was argued in revision was that P.W. 2, the Plantation Watcher was not empowered to arrest the petitioner under the Indian Forest Act and that if P.W. 2, therefore sought to arrest him by catching hold of the petitioner from behind, as spoken to by P.W. 2, the petitioner was entitled in the exercise of his right of private defence to free himself from the clutches of P.W. 2 by using his dao and if P.W. 2 got himseif hurt therebv, no offence either under Section 224 or 324 I.P.C. can be said to have been made out against the petitioner.
My attention was also drawn to the statement in the Sessions Judge's judgment that even though as the Plantation Watcher, P.W. 2 had no power to arrest the accused, he, as a private person, could arrest the petitioner, because he was committing, in P.W. 2's view, a non-bailable and cognizable offence. It was pointed out that the offence in this case was not a non-bailable offence, though it was a cognizable one and that a private person had, therefore, no right to arrest the petitioner under Section 59 Cr.P.C. and that therefore the attempt to arrest by P.W. 2 who did not have the power of arrest could be resisted by the petitioner in the exercise of his right of private defence.
4. The learned Sessions Judge's statement that the offence was a non-bailable offence was wrong. The offence for which the petitioner was sought to be arrested by P.W. 2 was an offence under Section 33(1(a) of the Indian Forest Act. Section 64 of the said Act gave the power to any forest officer or police officer to arrest any person reasonably suspected to have been concerned in any forest offence punishable with imprisonment for one month or upwards and this can be done without a warrant. Hence, the offence under Section 33(1)(a) was a cognizable offence. But Section 65 of the said Act shows that any person arrested under Section 64 could be releases on his executing a bond to appear before a magistrate. Hence, it is clear that the offence was not a non-bailable offence. It follows that a private person cannot arrest under Section 59 Cr.P.C. for a forest offence.
5. But the learned Sessions Judge was also wrong in stating that P. W. 2, the Plantation Watcher had no power to arrest the petitioner. There can be no doubt that P.W. 2 is a forest officer within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the Indian Forest Act. Forest officer is defined therein as a person whom the State Government or any officer empowered by the State Government in this behalf may appoint to carry out all or any of the purposes of the Forest Act or to do anything required by the Act or any rule made thereunder to be done by a Forest Officer. P.W. 2 is a Menial-Cum-Plantation Watcher appointed by the Divisional Forest Officer who has been empowered to appoint Forest Officers. The very name Plantation Watcher shows that his duty was to watch the plantations.
One of the purposes of the Indian Forest Act is to protect specified trees in the protected forests and if a plantation Watcher sees a person cutting down a protected tree from a plantation, he has to carry out the purpose of protecting such trees, which means that a Plantation Watcher was a Forest officer within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the Act.
Sal tree is a protected tree. Section 64 of the Forest Act gives the power to any Forest Officer to arrest without warrant a person found committing such a forest offence. It is clear, therefore, that P.W. 2 had me power to arrest the petitioner. Hence, there can be no right of private defence to the petitioner, when P.W. 2 sought to arrest him. On the other hand, in attacmng P.W. 2 with the dao when he arrested the petitioner ana in escaping after his arrest, it is clear that the petitioner was guilty of intentionally escaping from custody when he was lawfully detained by P.W. 2. He was rigntly convicted under Section 224 I.P.C Similarly, as the petitioner voluntarily caused hurt to P.W. 2 with the dao, he was rightly convicted under Section 324 I.P.O. I see no reason to Interfere with the conviction or the sentence. The revision petition fails and it is dismissea. The petitioner will surrender to the hail bond.