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State of Rajasthan Vs. Manna Lall - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 9 of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1972Raj257; 1972()WLN327
ActsRajasthan Forest Act, 1953 - Sections 43, 83 and 83(3)
AppellantState of Rajasthan
RespondentManna Lall
Appellant Advocate M.L. Shrimal, Addl. Govt. Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.T. Porwal, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....even after payment of government dues--held, no immunity conferred on government--district forest officer is a bailee and plaintiff is entitled to the price of grass not returned.;the position of the district forest officer was that of a bailee under the general law of contracts and as soon as the government were paid their dues, as a bailee it was the duty of the forest officer as a servant or agent of the government to make over the stock of grass to the plaintiff-contractor. here the liability to return the stock of grass seized squarely arose out of a contract and in such a case neither section 43 nor section 83 would confer immunity on the state government. when the government or its servants were unable to return the stock in full, the plaintiff was entitled to get the..........that there was some delay in depositing the due instalments and for this reason the district forest officer had cancelled the contract on 15-2-62. further 600 stacks of grass which had been cut by the plaintiff were seized. against the order of the district forest officer the plaintiff lodged an appeal to the chief conservator of forest, raiasthan, who accepted the same and ordered that on the plaintiff's depositing the outstanding amount the grass that was seized be made over to the plaintiff. accordingly, the plaintiff deposited the out-standings, but was handed over only 284 stacks of grass and 316 stacks were not returned back to him.3. then there was another transaction between the plaintiff and the forest department. it was that on 22-1-64, the district forest officer,.....
Judgment:

Kan Singh, J.

1. This is an appeal by the State and is directed against the judgment and decree of the learned Additional District Judge, Jhalawar dated 22-8-68 awarding a sum of Rs. 3565/- to the plaintiff respondent.

2. The plaintiff respondent filed the suit on 2n3-65 alleging that on 12-7-61 the plaintiff had been given the contract of cutting grajss in the Piplaj forest, Tehsil Khanpur, for an area of 484 acres for the year 1961-62 for an amount of Rs. 2901/-. The one-fourth amount was paid by the plaintiff as earnest money and the remaining amount was paid by him in instalments. The grievance of the plaintiff was that even though an area of 484 acres was given to him, possession was handed over to him only in respect of an area of 400 acres. The plaintiff further averred that there was some delay in depositing the due instalments and for this reason the District Forest Officer had cancelled the contract on 15-2-62. Further 600 stacks of grass which had been cut by the plaintiff were seized. Against the order of the District Forest Officer the plaintiff lodged an appeal to the Chief Conservator of Forest, Raiasthan, who accepted the same and ordered that on the plaintiff's depositing the outstanding amount the grass that was seized be made over to the plaintiff. Accordingly, the plaintiff deposited the out-standings, but was handed over only 284 stacks of grass and 316 stacks were not returned back to him.

3. Then there was another transaction between the plaintiff and the Forest Department. It was that on 22-1-64, the District Forest Officer, Jhalawar had purchased 300 stacks of grass of range Khan-pur from the plaintiff and the price thereof came to Rs. 3000/-, but only an amount of Rs. 1863/- was paid to the plaintiff. Further in respect of this transaction the plaintiff claimed Rs. 150/- as transportation charges. Thus, an amount of Rs. 738/-was claimed by the plaintiff in respect of this transaction.

4. Then there was a third transaction and it was that on 2-4-62 the plaintiff had taken the contract of collectingforest produce of Gilanda Range, Khanpur for an amount of Rs. 541/-. The grievance of the plaintiff was that although this amount had been paid by him, he was never put in possession or the area.

5. Thus after giving a notice the plaintiff filed a suit for the recovery of an amount of Rs. 4439/- against the State and the District Forest Officer.

6. On behalf of the State the contract dated 12-7-61 was admitted, the payment of the amount of the contract namely, Rs. 2901/- was also admitted. It was further admitted that the District Forest Officer had cancelled the contract and the Chief Conservator of Forest had reversed the order of the District Forest Officer and had ordered that on the plaintiff's paying the remaining dues, he may be put in possession of the 600 stacks of grass that were seized. However, it was denied that all the grass was not returned to the plaintiff. It was asserted that the grass was returned to Mangilal, a servant of the plaintiff. It was also denied that the plaintiff was not put in possession of the whole area. The second transaction was denied altogether and about the third transaction the defendant State took the stand that though the plainiff had deposited the amount of Rs. 541/-, it was he who had failed to take possession of the area in spite of several notices and to execute the agreement. Some special pleas were also raised. Firstly, it was pleaded that the suit was bad on account of misjoinder of causes of action. Then it was pleaded that the District Forest Officer being not a person, a suit against him would not be maintainable. Then it was urged that the State Government was not responsible as grass might have been embezzled by Mangilal. Then it was pleaded that the Forest Officer had acted under Sections 82 and 83 of the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953, hereinafter to be referred as the 'Act', and, therefore, no suit for damages could lie against the State.

7. The learned Additional District Judge framed the following issues :--

1 D;k tCr dh gqbZ gj ,d ckxj es500 iwys ?kkl Fkk vkSj ?kkl dh dher 30 :- Qh gtkj iwyk Fkh&&oknh;

2 D;k 22&2&64 dks 300ckxj ?kkl 2:- eu ds fglkc ls jsUt [kkuiwj dks oknh us dheru nh vkSj D;k gjckxj esa 5 eu ?kkl Fkk &oknh;

3 D;k nkos dh en ua- 14 esaof.kZr ?kkl dks bDB~Bk djus dh


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