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Mani JaIn Vs. Sub-divisional Forest Officer-cum-authorised Officer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberL.P.A. No. 299 of 1998
Judge
Reported in1999(2)MPLJ81
ActsMadhya Pradesh Van Upaj (Vyapar Viniyaman) Adhiniyam, 1969 - Sections 15, 15B, 15B(5) and 15C; Constitution of India - Article 226; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Sections 397(3)
AppellantMani Jain
RespondentSub-divisional Forest Officer-cum-authorised Officer and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.R. Saraf, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG. Desai, Government Adv.
Excerpt:
.....' 2. appellant has filed this appeal assailing the writ court's order on the ground that the writ petition was maintainable and that writ court was competent to quash order dated 8-7-1997 passed by the revisional authority who had failed to consider the mandatory provisions of section 15(6) of the adhiniyam......in criminal procedure code is barred and in view of the decision reported in air 1979 sc 381, the writ jurisdiction is not permitted to be used normally to circumvent the power of second revision.'2. appellant has filed this appeal assailing the writ court's order on the ground that the writ petition was maintainable and that writ court was competent to quash order dated 8-7-1997 passed by the revisional authority who had failed to consider the mandatory provisions of section 15(6) of the adhiniyam.3. maintainability of the writ petition against orders passed by forums provided under the adhiniyam came under cloud requiring both sides to address the court on the issue. the two sides fairly brought out the legal position in support of the maintainability of the writ petition. therefore,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.A. Khan, J.

1. Appellant's truck allegedly transporting 'Sagoon Wood' was seized and later confiscated vide order dated 28-8-1995 passed by respondent No. 1. She took appeal to respondent No. 2 on the ground that she had no knowledge about the prohibited transportation of the wood and that she was kept in dark by the hirer of the truck. But her appeal was dismissed by order dated 14-11-1996 by respondent No. 2. She thereafter filed a Criminal Revision before the 6th Additional Sessions Judge, Indore under Section 15-B of the M. P. Van Upaj (Vyapar Viniyaman) Adhiniyam, 1969. (hereinafter called as 'the Adhiniyam') but failed there too. She then preferred W.P. No. 1365/97 before this Court which also met the same fate, though on a different reasoning. The Writ Court held as under :-

'The second revision in Criminal Procedure Code is barred and in view of the decision reported in AIR 1979 SC 381, the Writ Jurisdiction is not permitted to be used normally to circumvent the power of Second Revision.'

2. Appellant has filed this appeal assailing the writ court's order on the ground that the writ petition was maintainable and that Writ Court was competent to quash order dated 8-7-1997 passed by the Revisional Authority who had failed to consider the mandatory provisions of Section 15(6) of the Adhiniyam.

3. Maintainability of the Writ Petition against orders passed by forums provided under the Adhiniyam came under cloud requiring both sides to address the court on the issue. The two sides fairly brought out the legal position in support of the maintainability of the writ petition. Therefore, it does not involve much effort to hold that a writ petition was maintainable against an order passed in Revision by the Sessions Judge under Section 15-B of the Adhiniyam for the reasons to follow.

4. Section 15 of the Adhiniyam deals with search and seizure of property liable to be confiscated and also provides for the procedure therefor.

It empowers any Forest Officer notified by the State Government or any Police Officer not below the rank of an Assistant Sub-Inspector to seize specified forest produce along with all tools, vehicles etc., and to pass an order of confiscation in this regard on satisfying various requirement laid down therein.

5. Section 15-A provides for appeal against such order of confiscation to the Conservator of Forest of the forest circle in which such forest produce is seized.

6. Section 15-B similarly provides for a Revision against order passed by the Appellate Authority to the Court of Sessions which is vested with the power to confirm, reverse or modify the order passed by the Appellate Authority.

Sub-section (5) of this section declares that the order passed by the Revisional Authority shall be final and shall not be called in question before any court.

7. Lastly, Section 15-C imposes a bar of jurisdiction on the courts under certain circumstances. It lays down that on receipt of information under sub- section (5) of Section 15 about initiation of proceedings for confiscation of property by the Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the offence on account of which the seizure of property which is subject matter of confiscation, has been made, no court, Tribunal or Authority (other than the authorised officer, Appellate Authority and Court of Sessions) shall have jurisdiction to make orders with regard to which proceedings for confiscation are initiated under Section 15, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, or any other law for the time being in force.

8. What emerges, therefore, from all this, is that the order passed by the Revisional Authority under Section 15(5) assumes finality and is beyond challenge before any Court.

9. Similarly, no court is vested with the jurisdiction to pass any order regarding confiscation proceedings initiated under Section 15 once the intimation is received by the Magistrate about the initiation of confiscation proceedings under Section 15(5).

10. All told a person aggrieved of confiscation which stands eventually affirmed by the Court of Sessions (Revisional Authority) is rendered remedyless, and has nowhere to go except to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court.

11. Added to this is the bar of jurisdiction imposed on courts under Section 15-C. In such a situation an aggrieved person cannot be left high and dry and deprived of seeking Writ remedy when all doors are otherwise closed for him by the relevant statute. Nor can any statutory bar imposed on courts be stretched to take away the Writ power of the Writ Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. Support is drawn attention from various judgments of the Supreme Court including (1994) 6 SCC 157, Hindustan Lever Ltd. supporting the proposition that where no remedy is available against the decision of the statutory forum such decision would be reviewable by the High Court in its writ jurisdiction. It is accordingly held that appellant's Writ Petition was otherwise maintainable as the Adhiniyam made the Revisional Authority's order final and barred jurisdiction of courts in dealing with confiscation proceedings under the relevant provisions.

12. Proceeding thus, it must be pointed out that the Writ Court had proceeded on a wrong premise by dismissing appellant's writ petition on its likelihood of circumventing the second revision. Reliance in this regard on AIR 1979 SC 381, also appears misplaced which now stands overruled by Supreme Court Judgment - 1997(1) UPU 290.

13. This is so because second revision is barred under the Code of Criminal Procedure vide its Section 397(3) which provides thus :

'If an application under this section has been made by any person either to the High Court or to the Sessions Judge, no further application by the same person shall be entertained by the other of them.'

The rationale behind it to prevent multiplicity of revision petitions in criminal matters. But the present controversy does not fall under the Criminal Procedure Code and would not invite the bar of second revision under Section 397(3). As would be evident it arises out of a confiscation order passed under the Adhiniyam which provides its own hierarchy of Forums and declares the order of Revisional Authority (Court of Sessions) to be final. As such, the question of second revision in such a case and any bar imposed by Section 397(3), Criminal Procedure Code does not and would not arise. Nor could appellant's writ petition be seen to circumvent any such bar. It is a different matter whether appellant could have invoked the inherent jurisdiction of this Court under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code. This issue does not require any examination.

14. We accordingly hold that appellant's Writ Petition was dismissed on a wholly wrong and irrelevant premise by misplacing reliance on the Supreme Court Judgment in AIR 1979 SC 381. It shall accordingly revive and be posted before an appropriate Bench for disposal in accordance with law. Order accordingly.


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