- The whole dispute is about the 162 acres of forest land located at the Kasmundi Khurd village.
- This petition was filed against the judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad wherein, the Court allowed the writ petition of the Respondent on 30th Nov 2005. The High Court overruled the order of the Deputy Director of Consolidation, Lucknow, in the revenue entry of Khasra Nos.1576 and 1738 was to be corrected and transferred to the Department of Forest.
- This suit dated back to the notification issued by the Governor of the State of UP on 11th, Oct 1952 declaring that the above-said land located in does not vest on the village community (Gaon Samaj) vide section 4 of the UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1952.
- On the 23rd Nov 1995, another notification was issued, vide section 4 of the Forest Act, 1927, to invite the general public, objections regarding the land. A proclamation regarding the same was promulgated way back in 1968, under section 6 of the Forest Act.
- The village community (Gaon Sabha) member in 1966 gave some chunk of the disputed land on lease, and the Forest department objected to the unlawful action of the Gaon Sabha.
- The Forest department appealed against this grant to the Gaon Sabha before the Sub–Divisional Officer Lucknow, but the appeal got rejected. The Forest Department moved to the Additional Commissioner, Lucknow and challenged the grant of land by the Sub-Divisional Officer; the Additional Commissioner accepted the contention raised by the Forest Department; the Forest Department got the order in their favour on 22nd July 1970. When the Board of Revenue rejected the objection of the leaseholders, the Forest Department initiated proceedings under the Consolidation of Holdings Act, for rectifying the revenue records and from the lessee to the Forest Department. Leaseholders challenged the action of the Forest Department; The Court ordered the halt of the ratification of revenue-record was in 1993. The counsel appearing for the leaseholder’s claimed that the notice issued under Section 4 was unclear as it did not comply with the conditions. The High Court of Judicature, at Allahabad, reversed the order passed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation after the ratification of the revenue entry in November 2005.
Submission/Contentions of Appellant/s –
The Appellant, through their counsel, argued that the decision to set aside the order passed of the Deputy Director by the High Court lacks any legal basis. The notification, dated 11th Oct 1952, vide Section 4 of the Abolition Act, was in force, and as per notification, all estates situated in Uttar Pradesh shall vest in the State. The impact of this notification was that the rights, title and interest, shall be deemed to lie with the State of Uttar Pradesh. Drawing the` power from Section 117 of the Abolition Act, the State has the authority to transfer the lands by a general or special order as prescribed therein belonging to the forests, Gaon Sabha and other local authorities. It is not for any of the parties, whose land was the subject of the notification dated 11th Oct 1952, to demand any general or special orders by the State to transfer the same in favor of the village community or any other local authority. Summing up his argument, the counsel said that the land coming to the notification dated 11th, Oct 1952 without any suspicion belongs to the State.
Principles and observations of the Court –
The Court said that there is no requirement under Section 4 of the Act. The Court opined that Section 6 of the Act requires the specification of the situation and limits of the forest. The Court observed that details of the said land were part of the 162 acres of land mentioned in the order passed. The Court observed that the land belonged to the Forest Department vide the order issued by the Governor, and those were the leaseholders who tried to assert their rights under agreements in writing that they failed to present in the Court.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment, ruled that the Respondent has no right based on the entry in the revenue record. The Supreme Court held the orders of the High Court could not be upheld in law and was ordered to set aside. The earlier order of the Deputy- Director, Consolidation, was restored.
My Opinion –
I agree with the decision of the Court the land that belongs to the State, the rights, interest, and ownership cannot be vested merely based on the revenue records.
Judgment Name –
Prabhagiya Van Adhikari Awadh Van Prabhag vs Arun Kumar Bhardwaj(D) through LRS.
Judgment Date – OCTOBER, 05, 2021
Judges/Bench – (1) HEMANT GUPTA, J.
(2) V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN, J
Name of the writer – Rudrakant Chaubey
College – Sri Krishna Jubilee Law College, Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University