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State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. the District Judge, Faizabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 756 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1971All229
ActsForest Act, 1927 - Sections 17 and 18; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 14
AppellantState of Uttar Pradesh
RespondentThe District Judge, Faizabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateChief Standing Counsel
Respondent AdvocateChief Standing Counsel (for Nos. 1 and 2) and ;S.L. Varma, Adv. (for No. 3)
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
civil - forest - section 17 and section 18 of forest act 1927 - order 6 rule 14 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - appeal - authorisation - appeal may be filed through forest officer on behalf of state government. - - singh, divisional forest officer faizabad who, as we have seen above, was a forest officer within the meaning of section 17. a forest officer filing an appeal under section 17 obviously does so on behalf of the state government and not on his personal behalf as is clearly implicit in the language of this section......its application to this state provides that any person who has made a claim under this act, or any forest officer or other person generally or specially empowered by the state government in this behalf, may present an appeal from such order to the district judge. section 18, as amended in its application to this state, further provides that every appeal under section 17 shall be made by petition in writing and may be delivered to the forest settlement officer who shall forward it without delay to the district judge. sub-section (2) of section 2 contains the definition of 'forest officer1 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 this act or to do anything required by this.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Jagmohan Lal, J.

1. An objection under the Indian Forest Act was filed by opposite party No. 3 which was decided by the Forest Settlement Officer under Section 11 of that Act. Against that order, an appeal was filed under Section 17 which was dismissed by the District Judge Faizabad opposite party No. 1 on two preliminary grounds that the memo of appeal was signed by a person who was not authorised to do so and that this memo of appeal was not properly presented. The Forest Department of the State Government feeling dissatisfied with this order of the District Judge has filed this Writ Petition which was contested on behalf of opposite party No. 3.

2. I heard the learned Counsel for the parties. The learned Counsel for the petitioner referred to Section 17 of the Forest Act which as amended in its application to this State provides that any person who has made a claim under this Act, or any Forest Officer or other person generally or specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf, may present an appeal from such order to the District Judge. Section 18, as amended in its application to this State, further provides that every appeal under Section 17 shall be made by petition in writing and may be delivered to the Forest Settlement Officer who shall forward it without delay to the District Judge. Sub-section (2) of Section 2 contains the definition of 'Forest Officer1 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 this Act or to do anything required by this Act or any rule made thereunder to be done by a Forest Officer. The petitioner has filed a copy of the order dated December 31, 1965 (Annexure 3) which shows that Sri N.N. Singh who was an Assistant Conservator of Forests was also promoted as Deputy Conservator of Forests Incharge of Afforestation Division Faizabad in place of Sri Girja Dayal who was directed to hand over charge of the Division to Sri N.N. Singh. Reference is then made to a Gazette Notification dated March 6, 1880 a copy of which is Annexure 5 which shows that the Lieutenant Governor authorised that within their respective charges, the Conservator of Forests, all Deputy Conservators and other Officers named therein whether in permanent or temporary employment, were authorised to do all acts and exercise all powers that are provided by the Forest Act to be done or exercised by any Forest Officer. It is contended that in view of these provisions Sri N.N. Singh who had admittedly signed the memo. of appeal shall be deemed to be a Forest Officer within the meaning of Section 17 of the Act. It is further contended that so far as the presentation of the memo. of appeal is concerned it has been admitted by opposite party No. 3 also in para 4 of his counter-affidavit that this memo. was presented by the Forest Section Officer to the Forest Settlement Officer who forwarded it to the District Judge on 9-8-1966. This is in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 as mentioned above. The learned District Judge has relied on Para 276 of the Forest Manual which provides that under the Code of Civil Procedure the suits, applications and written-statements etc. filed on behalf of the forest department shall be signed by the Conservator. This however, relates only to the filing of ordinary civil suits etc. under the Code of Civil Procedure and not an appeal filed under Section 17 of the Forest Act. For filing such an appeal the Act itself empowers the Forest Officer to do so who can certainly sign the memo of appeal. The learned counsel for the opposite party however, pointed out that the appeal was filed in this case on behalf of the State Government through forest department and not by the Forest Officer himself as evident from the memo. of appeal (Annexure 2 to the Writ petition). It is true that in the description of the appellant, it has been mentioned 'the State of Uttar Pradesh through Forest Department,' but in substance, it was an appeal filed by Sri N.N. Singh, Divisional Forest Officer Faizabad who, as we have seen above, was a Forest Officer within the meaning of Section 17. A Forest Officer filing an appeal under Section 17 obviously does so on behalf of the State Government and not on his personal behalf as is clearly implicit in the language of this Section. It was also argued that the memo of appeal was presented to the Forest Settlement Officer,by the Forest Section Officer as admitted by the petitioner and not by this Divisional Forest Officer or Deputy Conservator of Forests. The petitioner has, however, alleged in Para 11 of the Writ Petition that the Forest Section Officer had the rank of Deputy Ranger. Section 18 only provides that the memo, of appeal shall be delivered to the Forest Settlement Officer and it does not specifically say that it shall be delivered to him by the appellant himself who had signed the memo. of appeal. Under these circumstances, the Divisional Forest Officer could have the memo. of appeal delivered to the Forest Settlement Officer through the subordinate and that would be sufficient compliance of Section 18. In my opinion, the learned District Judge has wrongly thrown out this appeal on these preliminary grounds without going into the merits of the case. The Writ Petition is therefore allowed. The order passed by the District Judge dated 7-7-1967 (Annexure 4) is quashed. In the circumstances of the case, the parties shall bear their own costs.


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