1. In this case an order has been made by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Khulna confiscating a boat said to belong to the petitioner, under the provisions of Chap. 9, Forests Act. The boat has been confiscated under the provisions of Section 55. On appeal to the learned Judge he has dismissed the appeal holding apparently inter alia that the applicant was no party to the proceedings in the original Court and no investigation as to his claim for relief from confiscation was made in that Court, and that under the provisions of Section 59, Forests Act, he is not entitled to a determination of that question on appeal.
2. The language of Section 59 is this:
The officer who made the seizure under Section 52 or any of his official superiors, or any person claiming to be interested in the property so seized may appeal from the order of confiscation.
3. The contention before us has been that the phrase 'or any person interested in the property so seized' has reference only to the circumstances previously contemplated and provided for in Section 57. Section 57 provides a special procedure when the offender is not known or cannot be found and it relates to the forest produce and provides that no order of confiscation is to be made in that case amongst other things without hearing the person if any claiming any right thereto and the evidence if any which he may produce in support of his claim. We are unable to give effect to the contention that the clause already quoted from Section 59 is to be confined in its scope to the conditions contemplated in Section 57. The first canon of construction of a statute is that you must take the language as it stands and if it is clear give effect to it. There is no possible ground for saying that the phrase 'any person claiming to be interested in the property so seized' should be construed as limited to the case contemplated by Section 57 when no mention is made of any such limitation; the language of the section is perfectly clear and unrestricted in its terms and must be given effect to accordingly. Apart from that, the words so seized' logically and grammatically refer to the seizure under Section 52, which includes seizure of tools, boats and etc.
4. The only other argument placed before us was that even if it was conceded that the present applicant had any locus standi before the appellate Court it should be laid down that his contention there must be limited to this : that the order for confiscation will not stand because the boat was not used in the commission of the offence; and that once it is shown that it was in fact used, the order for confiscation must stand as a matter of course. To any such proposition laid down in such broad terms we are unable to assent. It need only be said that the matter is one to be determined upon such evidence as there may be in the particular circumstances of each case. The Rules accordingly are made absolute in these terms and the matters mu3t go back to the learned Judge for determination of the question according to law.