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Key Takeaways

  • The Supreme Court Bench gave a judgement in the case of Prabhagiya Van Adhikari Awadh Van Prabhag V. Arun Kumar Bhardwaj (Dead) Thr. Lrs.
  • The bench included Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian.
  • The bench was hearing an appeal against an order passed by the High Court.
  • The accused were claiming rights over the forest land based on entries in the revenue record and the Court rejected such claims.

Background

  • The Governor had furnished a notification on 11/10/1952 as per Section 4 of the UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1952. The notification said that 162 acres of area located in Village Kasmandi Khurd were not be vested with the Gaon Samaj.
  • Another notification was issued on 23/11/1995 under section 4 of the Forest Act, 1927 inviting objections concerning the land and a proclamation was carried out on 28/4/1968 under section 4 of the same Act.
  • The Gaon Samaj leased 7 bighas and 5 bighas of land from Khasra No. 15756 on 15/05/1996 and 26/12/1966 respectively.
  • When the six yearly Khatuni was prepared for the period 1380 to 1388 fasli, the land was assigned under the Gaon Samaj but it got shifted to the Forest Department when the six yearly Khatuni was planned for the period 1395 to 1400 fasli as a protected forest.
  • The Forest Department challenged such grant of the Gaon Sabha before the Sub Divisional Officer, Lucknow which was not successful.
  • The department moved to the Additional Commissioner, Lucknow on 22/07/1970 and they succeeded this time.
  • However, after the Board of Revenue dismissed the revision of the lessee, they decided to take a fresh decision after they prosecuted the local management that granted the lease to the lessee.
  • Since the lessee’s name was highlighted for the first time, the Forest Department initiated proceedings under the Consolidation of Holdings Act for rectifying the revenue record from the lessee to the forest Department which was also dismissed in 1993.
  • The Counsel for the lessee claimed that the notice issued under Section 4 was not clear as it did not comply with the conditions. They said that Khasra No 15776 was only mentioned in the order made under the same section.
  • The High Court of Allahabad set aside the order passed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation after the ratification of the revenue entry in November 2005

Courts Observation

  • The Court observed that no other requirement was required under Section 4 of the Act.
  • The Court also mentioned that only under Section 6 of the Act requires the specification of the situation and limits of the forest.
  • The Court also stated that the details of Khasra numbers which were a part of the 162 acres of land were mentioned in the order passed.
  • The Court observed that the land was vested to the Forest Department by the virtue of the order passed by the Governor and it was the lessee who tried to assert his rights by the virtue of agreement in writing which was also not present in the Court.

Courts Order

  • The Supreme Court ordered that the lessee was not entitled to any right based onthe entry in the revenue record.
  • The Supreme Court found out that the order of the High Court could not be sustained in law and was ordered to set aside.
  • The order passed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation was re-established.

Questions

Did the Governor have the jurisdiction to issue such orders under the UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act of 1952?
Can a land be declared as a protected forest? If so what are the grounds?
Let us know your views on the issue in the comment section below!

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