State is the biggest litigant in our courts today, be it the high court or the Supreme Court. However, once in a while there comes across a case which makes one wonder as to how serious these litigations are. One such peculiar case came up before the Bombay High Court.
Justice AS Gadkari was hearing a petition filed by the State against an order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Kolhapur, wherein an order passed by the Deputy Conservator of Forest, Islampur, directing confiscation of five buffaloes was set aside.
It was the case of the petitioner State that buffaloes owned by respondent Kalu Janu Khot entered into the forest area of Chandoli Sanctuary causing damage to the natural resources by grazing in the said area. The State further alleged that Khot had illegally released the said cattle for grazing in spite of prohibition and as he did not have a license for doing so he committed a violation of Section 26(1) 61(c)(1) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
The Assistant Conservator of Forest, Islampur, confiscated the five buffaloes in an order dated April 5, 2014. Respondent Khot then filed a criminal revision application before the Additional Sessions Judge, Kolhapur, challenging the order directing confiscation of buffaloes.
Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Palkar submitted that the order passed by the Assistant Conservator of Forest was under Section 61(c)(i), so only an appeal could have been filed not a criminal revision application.
The court rejected the State’s argument as being hypertechnical and said-
“The record indicates that, respondent No.1 did not deliberately do the act of releasing the cattle in the prohibited area or demarcated area of the said Sanctuary but it is due to the sheer inadvertence and lack of knowledge on the part of respondent No.1, his cattle entered into the jurisdiction of the said sanctuary. It prima facie appears that, the act committed by respondent No.1 is not deliberate or intentional. The submission of the learned APP is hypertechnical in nature and does not relate to the issue involved in the present case.”
Thus, the State’s petition was rejected.