Table of Contents
Dealing with Forest Offenses
PROCEDURE OF DEALING WITH A FOREST OFFENSE:
- Arrest the offender.
- Seize the property which is part of that offense.
- Issuing a damage report.
- Damage report is brought to the range office.
- RFO fixing the compensation for that offense.
- Offer the offender whether he is willing to compound the case or not.
- If the offender is agreed, then he will pay the compensation money to the Block Officer and BO gives him a receipt.
- BO will deposit that money in the treasury of the Govt account.
- RFO shows his money in the monthly case.
- Forester maintains the Receipt Book
- Forest Guard maintains the Damage Report.
In the range office, there are 3 types of registers.
- C register (Prosecution cases)
- C register (Compound cases)
- C register (Forest cases)
- If the offender refuses;
- RFO makes the challan form in which details of offenses are given and sends it to DFO.
- DFO to Prosecution clerk and he sends this challan form to Court.
Also Read: POWER AND LIMITATIONS OF FOREST OFFICERS
CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCES ACCORDING TO THE PROCEDURE OF LAW:
- There are two main classes of criminal cases i) Cognizable and ii) Non-cognizable
- Those offenses in which police can arrest the offender without a warrant and investigate the case.
- Sec 64 PFA makes forest offenses cognizable if they are punishable with one-month imprisonment or more.
- FO can arrest the offender without an arrest warrant and takes to the magistrate within 24 hours.
- After arrest the question arises whether the offense is a) Bailable or b) Non-bailable
- If the offense is bailable, then take the bail. Bail can be taken if there is a doubt of guilt.
- Forest cases are bailable under the act.
- Other cases having less than 3 years of imprisonment are bailable.
- If offenses are not bailable, police investigate, prepares cases, and sends it to the magistrate.
- They take recognizance from the witness and forward the accused on bail or in custody as the case may be.
- Those offenses in which police/ FO cannot arrest the offender without a warrant (Sec 55 PPC)
- All the civil suit cases are non-cognizable. In such cases, police/ FO cannot investigate without an order of empowered magistrate.
- If a complaint is made, it is noted and reported to the magistrate.
- The empowered magistrate examines the complaint, writes down his statement and issues warrant or summons. (Sec 200 PPC)
SUMMONS AND WARRANTS:
- For the attendance of witness/ offenders summons or warrants are issued.
- Offenses are classified as summoning cases and warrant are issued.
- The summon must be written in an established form and in duplicate.
- In case the person is not available, it should be served to the male adult member of a family
- The warrant is also in writing signed and sealed by magistrate and usu addressed to the police officer.
- Once issued, it remains enforced until the person is arrested or until it is canceled by the court.
- If the person absent and not found within 30 days; may be issued and copied affixed in a conscious part of his house and in kutchery.
- If the period is up to 6 months, and the person is not available, then this property may be sold and forfeited to govt.
- Criminal trails may be open to public except special cases.
- The accused has the right to be defended by pleader.
- The accused may be examined by the court at any stage of any inquiry or trial.
- The court has the power to appoint public prosecutors.
- Al session cases must be conducted by public prosecutors.
- Cases once began must be claimed to the end but some may be compounded under sec 345.
- The magistrate of 1st class may stop the proceeding and release accused.
- In cases, instituted on the complaint the magistrate may allow the complaint to withdraw his charge and thereupon acquit the accused.
- Before trail inquiry is held by the magistrate.
- The accused is not bound to answer to question.
- Then according to nature of the case, the magistrate may commit the accused for trial by session or in special cases before the high court.
- After the charge is framed, the charge must be real and explained to accused. The accused must give the name of all witnesses that wants to have summoned for trial
- The magistrate is bound to summon all witness.
- All cases tried under forest act except under sec 63 are summoning cases. In such cases, no formal charge sheet is drawn.
- The complaint may be returned if the complaint does not appear; the case is dismissed. If appears and accused admitted, he is convicted.
- A magistrate may grant summon if the witness refusing to appear.
- A FO has been empowered (sec 72 PFA) to take evidence.
- In cases of warrant cases, the complaint and his witnesses are at first examined and the accused can cross-examine them.
- It is a very quick and short duration trial of an offense cure under section 67 (PFA) all forest offenses except those mentioned in section 63 can be trial summary.
- These are simpler even than summary cases.
- It facilitates the quick disposal of cases.
- All offenses stated in sec 260 and some warrant and all summon cases can be trailed summary by the district magistrate or 1st class magistrate.
- Under the PFA sec 67, all the offenses except those mentioned under sec 63 can be trail summary.
- In the cases for which there is no record is made of the evidence or charge sheet framed. The particulars are entered in the register.
CRIME COURTS AND THEIR POWERS:
- Each province has its chief criminal courts having the ultimate power of appeal and supervision. This court is called the High Court.
- Next in grade comes the court of sessions.
- Session judges are separate from civil judges and revenue commissioner.
- Session courts never take these cases by the direct complaint of any person or the direct report of police but only after committed by a magistrate.
- Magistrate holds an inquiry, takes write down the pieces of evidence for the prosecution, examines the accused if necessary and draws write up a charge.
- He analyses the case and records his reason for concluding that a case is established and commits the cases to the session.
- When a trail is held, evidence on both sides reheard and judgment is given.
- The courts of the magistrate are most important for forest cases.
- Magistrates are classified into three classes:
- Magistrate of the 1st class can sentence up to 2 years imprisonment and Rs 1000/- fine including the whipping and solitary confinement.
- Magistrate of the 2nd class can sentence up to 6 months imprisonment and can fine Rs 200/- with solitary confinement and whipping; if authorized by local govt.
- Magistrate of the 3rd class can sentence up to one-month imprisonment and up to 50/- fine.
- The highest magistrate, District Magistrate or Collector or Deputy Commissioner posses all powers of the magistrate.
- There is also sub-divisional magistrate with the power of 1st class magistrate.
- With respect to forest act and special law, the 3rd class magistrate can sentence up to one-year imprisonment; 2nd class magistrate can sentence up to 3 years. And 1st class magistrate can sentence up to 7 years imprisonment.
- If the case is beyond one magistrate, he must stop the proceeding and submit the case to the superior magistrate who will heat it himself or refer to same competent court. Most Forest offenses can be tried by any magistrate if the punishment really exceeds.
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Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu (techurdu.net) Forestrypedia (forestrypedia.com), All Pak Notifications (allpaknotifications.com), Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.