Authorised Officer & Deputy Conservator of Forests & Anr Vs. Asgarli Khan 
Insc 424 (19 April 2007)
TARUN CHATTERJEE & P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.591 OF 2007 (Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.4460 of 2004)
By an order dated 13th of September, 2004, delay of 265 days in filing SLP
was condoned by this Court and thereafter notice was issued.
This appeal is preferred against the judgment and order dated 9th of July,
2003 passed by the High Court of Karnataka in Criminal Revision Petition No.495
of 2001 by which an order dated 13th of February, 2001 passed by the Additional
Sessions Judge, XIXth Court at Bangalore City in Criminal Appeal No.45 of 1996
Based on an information regarding forest offence and smuggling of
sandalwood, the Inspector of Police, Siddapur Police Station, Bangalore, seized
lorry bearing No. CAM 5589 on 28th March, 1995 together with sandalwood
weighing about 2,435 Kg.
As per the provisions of the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963, the seized
materials and the lorry were produced before the Authorised Officer Deputy
Conservator of Forests. The Authorised Officer, who was the competent authority
under the Forest Act, initiated a confiscation proceeding under Section 71-A of
the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 and by an order dated 28th of February, 1996 he
passed an order confiscating the Sandalwood involved in the offence and also
the lorry bearing number CAM 5589. The said order of confiscation was
challenged by the respondent by filing an appeal before the Additional Sessions
Judge, XIXth Court, Bangalore which was allowed by the learned Sessions Judge
by order dated 13th of February, 2001. Feeling aggrieved by the said order of
the learned Sessions Judge, the Authorised Officer and Deputy Conservator of Forest
and the State of Karnataka filed a Criminal Revision Petition No.495 of 2001
before the High Court. The aforesaid criminal revision petition was dismissed
by the High Court only on the ground that the same was not maintainable in law
in the absence of the State of Karnataka being made a party. That is to say the
High Court was of the opinion that the Authorised Officer and Deputy
Conservator of Forest was not competent to prefer the criminal revision
application without obtaining necessary sanction from the State of Karnataka
against the order of the learned Sessions Judge, Bangalore and therefore the
State of Karnataka was a necessary and proper party to file the criminal
revision case and accordingly the criminal revision at the instance of Deputy
Conservator of Forest only must be held to be not maintainable in law.
Aggrieved by this order of the High Court, the instant special leave
petition was filed which on grant of leave was heard in the presence of the
learned counsel for the parties.
We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and examined the impugned
order and other materials on record.
Having looked into the records of this case, we find that the State of Karnataka
was made petitioner No.2 before the High Court in the criminal revision case.
During the pendency of the special leave petition this Court, an application
for amendment of the cause title of the special leave petition has also been
filed in which the following prayer has been made : "The State of Karnataka
be represented by Principal Secretary, Forest, Environment and Ecology
Department, M.S. Building, Bangalore."
Considering that the State of Karnataka had also in fact challenged the
order of the learned Sessions Judge, Bangalore in the aforesaid criminal
revision petition in which it was petitioner no.2, there was no reason for the
High Court to dismiss the criminal revision petition on the ground
aforementioned. In view of the above, we also allow the prayer for amendment
made by the appellant during the pendency of this appeal. Accordingly, we allow
the application for amendment and direct the department to incorporate the
For the reasons aforesaid, we allow this appeal, set aside the impugned
order and restore the criminal revision petition to the file of the High Court
and request the High Court to decide the same at an early date preferably
within three months from the date of production of a certified copy of this
order. No order as to costs.