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Ram Deo v. Addl. Distt. Sessions Judge & Another - WRIT - C No. 27810 of 1993  RD-AH 1711 (14 December 2004)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.27810 of 1993
Ram Deo Vs. Additional District & Sessions Judge, Sonbhadra
Hon'ble V.C. Misra, J.
Shri P.R. Maurya, learned counsel for the petitioner, and Shri R.K. Awasthi, learned standing counsel on behalf of respondents Nos.1 & 2 are present.
1. The facts of the case in brief are that the petitioner acquired the plot No.6244-Gha admeasuring area of 19 Biswas and plot No.6196-D admeasuring area of 3 Bighas 18 Biswas on the basis of Patta (lease) in the year 1975 has and in possession of the land since 1383 Fasli as per the revenue record and as per report of the Forest Settlement Officer dated 22.10.1991 (annexure-3 to the writ petition). However, the petitioner received a notice under Section 4 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 issued from the office of Naib Tehsildar Chetra Bhagharu Duddhi, district Mirzapur in response to which the petitioner submitted his claim before the Forest Settlement Officer along with other claimants of the same village and produced his copy of the lease and copy of the Khatauni of the years 1382 to 1384 Fasli. Objections were filed by respondent no.2 against the claim of the petitioner. After hearing the parties, and the statements in writing of all the claimants enquired into the matter and found that the claims of the petitioner as well as other claimants were correct and consequently excluded such land from the limits of the proposed forest by its order dated 22.10.1991. Against the said order, the respondent no.2 filed an appeal under Section 18 of the Forest Act before the respondent no.1 who vide its order dated 12.3.1992 allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the Forest Settlement Officer and directed the plots Nos.6244 and 6196 to be handed over to the forest department.
2. The petitioner being aggrieved, by the said order, filed a Review Petition along with condonation of delay but the same was also rejected vide order dated 16.4.1993 (annexure-5 to the writ petition). Being aggrieved, the petitioner has approached this Court through the present writ petition challenging the impugned order on the grounds inter alia that the respondent no.1 failed to consider the case of the petitioner on merit and the relevant material and evidence on record was not considered nor any speaking order was passed rather the impugned order has been passed without application of mind that too without giving any opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and further that the respondent no.1 has wrongly and illegally reversed the findings of the Forest Settlement Officer in respect with the possession of the petitioner recorded in the revenue records without any basis, and also similarly rejected the review application.
3. In the counter affidavit, the respondents have relied upon the Notification dated 21.6.1960 filed as annexure-1 to the writ petition on the basis of which it is alleged that the land detailed in the schedule are declared to be proposed to constitute under which the Gatas are notified as per Section 4 of the Indian Forest Act for the proposed reserved forest. The said notification does not contain nor refers to the Plots Nos.6244 and 6145 of the petitioner. No other documentary evidence has been filed in support of the case of the respondents disclosing therein that the plots in question have been notified to be proposed to be taken over for the forest department.
4. I have heard the learned counsel for the parties at length and perused the record and find that the appellate Court-respondent no.1 has grossly erred in directing the Plots Nos.6244 and 6196 to be handed over to the Forest Department, without any basis or any relevant material or evidence on record. The findings arrived at by the respondent no.1 in the order are solely based on the statement of the forest guard and has not cared to look into and consider at all the relevant revenue record where the name of the petitioner was entered. In the entire body of the order there is no reference to the Plot No.6244 nor any finding has been arrived at regarding the same. The impugned appellate order is wrong, bad and illegal. Manifest error apparent on the face of the record has been committed by respondent no.1 in passing the same more so, it does not speak at all as to why and under what circumstances he set aside the findings of the Forest Settlement Officer, are set aside.
5. In view of the above said facts and circumstances of the case and observations made hereinabove, the impugned order dated 12.3.1992 (annexure-4 to the writ petition) and order dated 16.4.1993 (annexure-5 to the writ petition) are hereby quashed. The writ petition is allowed. No order as to costs.
December 14, 2004
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