Criminal Revision Petition No. 100248/2016. Case: Anjanakumar and Ors. Vs The State of Karnataka. Karnataka High Court

Case Number:Criminal Revision Petition No. 100248/2016
Party Name:Anjanakumar and Ors. Vs The State of Karnataka
Counsel:For Appellant: Neelendra D. Gunde, Advocate and For Respondents: Veena Hegde, HCGP
Judges:K.N. Phaneendra, J.
Issue:Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Sections 397, 401, 451, 457; Forest Act, 1963 - Sections 2(7), 2(7)(a), 2(7)(b), 62, 62(3)(a), 62(3)(b), 63, 71A
Judgement Date:March 14, 2017
Court:Karnataka High Court
 
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Order:

K.N. Phaneendra, J.

1. The respondent-Range Forest Officer, Gudekote Range has registered a case in F.O.C. No. 1/2015-16 on 22.05.2015, seized three lorries bearing Reg. Nos. KA-52/9666, KA-52/9843, KA-52/9481 and one JCB bearing reg. No. KA-16/M-9216 on the allegation that in the forest area the said vehicles were used for transporting the sand which is a forest produce. The petitioners who are the owners of the said vehicles have approached the learned Magistrate, i.e., Civil Judge (Jr. Dn.) & JMFC, Kudligi for release of the said vehicles to the interim custody of the petitioners during the pendency of the above said proceedings in F.O.C. No. 1/2015-16. The learned Magistrate after hearing the matter passed an order on 25.05.2015 releasing the said vehicles to the interim custody of the petitioners on imposing certain conditions.

The State through Range Forest Officer being aggrieved by the said order preferred a common revision petition before the III Addl. District & Sessions Judge at Ballari (sitting at Hosapete) in Crl. R.P. No. 5037/2015. The learned Sessions Judge has reversed the findings of the learned JMFC and directed the petitioners to surrender their respective vehicles to the petitioner before the revisional Court, i.e., Range Forest Officer, Gudekote Range, Ballari District and also given liberty to the said Officer to fix the amount of bond for release of the said vehicles. The said order of the learned Sessions Judge is called in question before this Court.

2. The learned Sessions Judge relying upon a decision of the Apex Court in the case of State of Karnataka v. K. Krishnan reported in (2000) Cri. L.J. 3971 wherein it is observed that powers of the Investigating Officer to release the vehicles to the interim custody of the R.C. Holders by fixing the bond amount. Here in this case the Range Forest Officer who has investigated the matter in F.O.C. No. 1/2015-16 appears to have submitted report to the jurisdictional magistrate with regard to the seizure of the said vehicles and as well as sand. Now the question arises before this Court, who is the competent authority to pass an appropriate order for release of the interim custody of the said vehicles. Of course under The Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 (for short 'Act') the Range Forest Officer is empowered to release the vehicle as per Section 62(3)(a) of the Act but when the seizure is reported to the Magistrate, an application is filed u/S 457 Cr.P.C. then the Magistrate would also get jurisdiction...

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