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V.S. Rangasawmy Iyer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in4Ind.Cas.405
AppellantV.S. Rangasawmy Iyer and ors.
Excerpt:
madras forest act (v of 1882), sections 35 and 36 - rules 2, 7 and 10 of rules by local government--form 2--cutting of tree--'moving', meaning of--whether moving in the act of cutting constitutes an offence under the forest act. - .....35 and 36 of the forest act. the offences charged against them are that they cut down certain sandal wood trees and had them removed from the place of cutting to a certain shed and some fields. the first question that arises is whether the cutting of the trees is itself an offence under the rules.2. the government is empowered to make rules to regulate the transit of all timber or of certain classes of timbers within local limits. section 35 also provides that such rules may prohibit the import and export or moving within defined local limits of timbers without a pass. now rule 2 provides that it shall not be lawful to import sandal wood into or export sandal wood from or move sandal wood within the areas specified without a permit as specified in rule 4. rule 4 refers to certain.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Krishnasawmy Iyer, J.

1. The accused have been charged under Rules 2, 7 and 10 of the Rules made by Government under Sections 35 and 36 of the Forest Act. The offences charged against them are that they cut down certain sandal wood trees and had them removed from the place of cutting to a certain shed and some fields. The first question that arises is whether the cutting of the trees is itself an offence under the Rules.

2. The Government is empowered to make Rules to regulate the transit of all timber or of certain classes of timbers within local limits. Section 35 also provides that such Rules may prohibit the import and export or moving within defined local limits of timbers without a pass. Now Rule 2 provides that it shall not be lawful to import sandal wood into or export sandal wood from or move sandal wood within the areas specified without a permit as specified in Rule 4. Rule 4 refers to certain forms of permits and Form No. 2 contains the heading Permits for the Imports, Export of timber, Transport from private lands or from foreign territory.' It seems to me to be clear that Section 35 in empowering Government to make rules as regards transit and Form No. 2 speaking of transport do not contemplate the moving which is involved in the cutting of a tree as comprised within the meaning of the word 'transit' or 'transport.' The collection of the words import, export and moving is also to be remembered in determining the signification of the word moving. I am quite aware that in the definition of theft under the Penal Code, moving which is involved in the very act of cutting with the intention to steal would amount to the offence of theft; but I am not prepared to hold that under Rule 2 of the Forest Act, the same sense is to be attached to that word. The next question is whether the offence is brought home to the accused in this case of moving timber from the place of cutting to the shed and the fields. I agree with the argument of the petitioner's Counsel that there is no evidence against the first or the 2nd accused of any connection with the moving of the timber from the place of cutting though it was obviously their interest to have the timber so moved. The learned Public Prosecutor does not refer me to any evidence in support of the view that they have been concerned in the acts charged.

3. As regards the other accused who have been convicted, I am not prepared to interfere with the finding of the Courts below that upon their admission they are guilty.

4. I am quite unable to understand from the record of this case what reason there was for the forest authorities to delay the permit or the affixing of any property mark that might be necessary. Whatever the reason may be, I am only concerned with the question as to whether, upon the facts, accused other than Nos. 1 and 2 who have been convicted are guilty. I am unable to say that their conviction is wrong but I think the sentence of a fine of 4 annas is sufficient as regards each of those accused. The fines paid by the 1st and 2nd accused are ordered to be refunded and the excess in the fine's paid by the other accused will also be refunded.


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