The Indian Forest Act, 1927

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The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was enacted on 21st September, 1927. It extends to whole of India and territories settled on immediately before 1st November, 1956 forming in part B that are States in Bihar, Bombay, Coorg, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, but State Government by notification in Official Gazette can apply this act in whole or in part for that State where this Act is not in force. For the Act, “Cattle include buffalo, camels, elephants, horses, pigs, ship, lamb, goats”, “Forest – Officer means, any person who is appointed by State Government to carry out all or any purpose of forest”, “Forest-Offence means, offence punishable under the act or rule mentioned herein”.

State Government any time that they think can declare any waste-land or forest which is property of Government or has there proprietary rights as “Reserve-Land” and also specify its extent or its limits. Any Village Community can be assign by state government a land which has formed a part of reserve land and can cancel such assignment also. All such forest which is assigned to village community is known as village forest. Any Land which waste-land or forest-land and is not declared by forest as reserve forest then State Government by notification any land that is government’s land or has proprietary rights over that land in whole or part then such waste-land or forest-land is declared as “Protected Forest.

Central Government may impose duty on timber and some forest products at certain place at certain rate by notification in official Gazette. All Timber which are not marked not registered then they deems to be government’s property unless any one claims right on it. Government has to issue public notice for person who claims timber with proper description within period not less then two month and if such person within said period does not claim then his claim is rejected and said before it is thus vested with government.

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When there is any forest offence committed by any person and is caught with tools which would harm forest parts then its report has to be made with Magistrate having the jurisdiction of such forest. If all that Timbers which is not the property of government and if offence is committed on such then that person is liable for confiscation. Forest Officer can arrest a person against whom there is rational doubt without warrant or magistrates order and are punishable with imprisonment for one month and it can even extend depending on the nature of the offence committed. If any cattle is trespassing from reserve forest or in any portion of reserve forest which is lawfully closed for grazing shall be committing offence i.e., destroying or damaging public property and such case is been looked after by forest officer. There is fine allocated i.e., for elephant grazed then ten rupees fine, for each buffalo or camel two rupees, each horse-mare-pony-bull-cow one rupee, for calf-pig-sheep-lamb-goat eight annas in such manner fine distributed for various cattle’s .

Forest officer is vested with certain power by State Government, powers like, to enter on any land and do survey of such land and also make map of that land, can issue search warrant as per the provisions lead in Code of Criminal Procedure, he can hold inquiry for any forest offence made and can ask for the evidence and such evidence recorded is admissible can be produced before magistrate while trial is going on. All forest officer appointed by government are deem to be public servant within the meaning of Indian Penal Code. Any Act which is done by forest officer for public benefit i.e., for public good and in good conscience then no suit will lie against such act done by such forest officer.  No forest officer is allowed to trade or do business of timber but, if government in writing permits him to do i.e., if government allows him to trade or do business for such timber then he can enter into trading of timber.

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by Samata. H. Joshi