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Chandra Prakash v. Prabhari Van Adhikari & Others - WRIT - C No. 48942 of 2002  RD-AH 5397 (9 November 2005)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.48942 of 2002
Chandra Prakash v. Prabhari Van Adhikari,
Muzaffarnagar and others
Hon'ble R.K.Agrawal, J.
Hon'ble (Mrs.) Saroj Bala, J.
(Delivered by R.K.Agrawal, J.)
By means of the present writ petition filed by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner seeks a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari quashing the order dated 16.5.2001 passed by the Prabhari Van Adhikari, Muzaffarnagar/Licensing Authority, respondent no. 1 and other consequential reliefs.
By means of the order dated 16.5.2001, the respondent no. 1 has rejected the representation made by the petitioner pursuant to the order dated 7.4.2000 passed by this Court in the earlier writ petition being Writ Petition No.16658 of 2000 filed by the petitioner. The respondent no. 1 rejected the representation of the petitioner on the ground that the Apex Court in Writ Petition No. 202 of 1995, vide order dated 4.3.1997, had banned the grant of licence to run the saw mills in the State of U.P.
We have heard Sri R.K. Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri V.N.Agrawal, learned Standing Counsel for the respondents.
The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Apex Court had only prohibited the grant of fresh licence for establishing a saw mill in the forest area in the State of U.P., as held by this Court in Nand Lal v. State of U.P. and others, 2002 ALJ 1255. He has further submitted that the aforesaid decision has been followed by this Court subsequently in Writ Petition No.10142 of 2004 and this Court vide judgment and order dated 12.3.2004 after setting aside the order declining to grant the licence to run the saw mill of that writ petition, had directed the Divisional Forest Officer to consider the application of the petitioner afresh in accordance with law. He thus, prayed for a similar direction.
Sri Agrawal has submitted that the Apex Court in the case of T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad Vs. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 1228, has totally prohibited the grant of licence to run a Saw Mill and, therefore, the petitioner's application/representation has rightly been rejected.
After giving our anxious consideration, we find that the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Nand Lal (supra) has considered the decision of the Apex Court in the case of T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad (supra) and has held as follows:-
"The apex court was only clarifying that no fresh licence should be granted in violation of the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. It did not prohibit that licence to operate saw mills should not be granted on any condition."
The aforesaid decision has also been followed by a Division Bench presided over by the Hon'ble Tarun Chatterjee, Chief Justice, as he then was, in the case of Shanker Lal Sharma Versus State of U.P. and others in Writ Petition.10142 of 2004 by holding as follows:-
"Such being the position, we are of the view that the Divisional Forest Officer was not justified in rejecting the application for grant of licence to run a Saw Mill on the ground that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad Vs. Union of India (supra) the application for grant of licence to run a Saw Mill cannot be considered."
As this Court has interpreted the decision of T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad (supra), we being a Bench of coordinate strength are bound by it. Learned Standing Counsel has not been able to persuade us to take a contrary view than what has been taken by the aforesaid two Division Benches. Accordingly, we are of the considered opinion that the Divisional Forest Officer, respondent no. 1, was not justified in rejecting the application of the petitioner for grant of licence to run the saw mill on the ground that in view of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad (supra) the application for grant of licence cannot be considered.
In view of the forgoing discussion the impugned order dated 16.5.2001, passed by the respondent no. 1, cannot be sustained and is set aside. He is directed to decide the application of the petitioner for grant of licence to run the saw mill in accordance with law after affording opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and other interested parties, by passing a speaking and reasoned order, within a period of three months from the date of communication of a certified copy of this order before the respondent no. 1.
The writ petition succeeds and is allowed.
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