When Forest Is Harmed The Primary Objective Is To Restore Forest: Himachal Pradesh High Court Directs Man To Plant 200 Tree Saplings

first_imgNews UpdatesWhen Forest Is Harmed The Primary Objective Is To Restore Forest: Himachal Pradesh High Court Directs Man To Plant 200 Tree Saplings Sparsh Upadhyay5 Feb 2021 5:43 AMShare This – x“This order is being passed to make the petitioner understand and realize his civic responsibility towards the environment”, said the Court.While underling that when a forest is harmed or forest produced is obtained illegally by any person’s actions, the primary objective is to restore the forest and not just punish the offender, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday (04th February) directed a man to restore and enlarge the forest cover by planting 200 tree saplings. The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginWhile underling that when a forest is harmed or forest produced is obtained illegally by any person’s actions, the primary objective is to restore the forest and not just punish the offender, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday (04th February) directed a man to restore and enlarge the forest cover by planting 200 tree saplings. The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing the plea of a man who expressed his inability to pay the bank guarantees imposed by the Divisional Forest Officer as a term for releasing his JCB. The matter The Divisional Forest Officer, by the impugned order dated 20th September 2020 ordered the release of the petitioner’s confiscated vehicle. However, the Officer directed to furnish Sapurdari Bond of Rs, 5,00,000/- along with one surety in the like amount and the FDR or Bank guarantee of Rs. 15,00,000/- drawn on any Nationalised Bank at Shimla pledged to DFO Shimla. Court’s observations At the outset, the Court observed that the legislative intent while enacting the Indian Forest Act, 1927 was to protect and conserve the forest, strengthen the existing forest laws and increase forest productivity. Further, noting that Forests are a national wealth which is required to be preserved, the Court observed that the said conditions imposed while ordering the confiscated vehicle’s release are too harsh and stringent and further, they also do not cover the forest restoration aspect. In this backdrop, the Court directed, “In the interests of the environment, (the Court) directs the petitioner to restore and enlarge the forest cover by planting 200 tree saplings by 15th Aug 2021. The Forest Department will provide the saplings to the petitioner.” The Court also directed that the Forest Department would be free to decide what tree saplings would  be given to the petitioner and whether the same would be charged or provided free of cost. The Court also directed, “The plantation shall be done on the same patch or around it, from where the illicit felling took place. In case any person, whom so ever, puts obstructions in plantation, then SHO of the concerned Police station shall provide adequate security and take appropriate legal action against such violators.” The Court further said that petitioner has to look after the saplings for one year after plantation personally and after one year, the Forest Department shall take care of the saplings. The petitioner has been asked to contact the Forest Department every month to report on the saplings’ status and health and any assistance he may require. “This order is being passed to make the petitioner understand and realize his civic responsibility towards the environment”, said the Court. Lastly, about the statutory requirement of furnishing a bond while releasing the confiscated vehicle, the Court directed the petitioner to furnish a personal bond undertaking to pay a sum of Rs 20,00,000/- or less, that the concerned court orders finally.In related news, in March 2020, the Judge allowed Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s application for condonation of delay, subject to it planting 500 trees in the riot affected areas of Delhi within 2 weeks. It appears that such directions are being issued since mid-2019. Madhya Pradesh and Orissa High Courts had last year imposed planting of saplings as a Bail Condition. “This direction is made by this Court as a test case to address the Anatomy of Violence and Evil by process of Creation and a step towards Alignment with Nature. The natural instinct of compassion, service, love and mercy needs to be rekindled for human existence as they are innately engrained attributes of human existence,” Justice Anand Pathak of Madhya Pradesh HC had observed in the order. In 2019, while ordering release of a ‘convict’ who was later found to be a juvenile at the time of incident of crime, the Supreme Court had directed him to plant 100 trees within a period of one year. Case title – Ashish Kaushal v. State of H.P. [Cr. MMO No. 29of 2021] Click Here To Download Order/JudgmentRead Order/JudgmentNext Storylast_img read more