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Forest Law Terminologies

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Terms are taken from LoF (Lexicon of Forestry by Naeem Javid)


The action of assisting somebody to do something, especially wrong.


A person who assists somebody to do something, especially something illegal.


Somebody charged with a crime: somebody being charged with wrongdoing in a criminal case

Acquired property:

The property which the person acquires (purchase, etc) himself.


The formal legal determination that an accused criminal is not guilty.


Any law which has been passed (approved) by parliament.


A formal complaint within the authority of a court of law.

Adverse possession:

The possession or occupation of land or property without the owner’s permission as a method of acquiring legal ownership.


A written statement signed by a person which can be used as evidence in a court. Affidavits are used as proof for simple matters that do not require the live testimony of witnesses.


A documentary contract b/w two parties where one party makes the offer and the other party accepts it.


The explanation offered by a person accused of a crime to demonstrate that he or she was somewhere other than where the crime took place at the time the crime happened.

Alluvial land:

A land relating to, consisting of or formed by sediment deposited by flowing water

Ancestral Property:

The property which a person inherits from his parents.

Appeal and revision:

The appeal the sentenced person request to the higher court for a change in the sentence given by the lower court.

Appellate court:

A higher court that reviews the decisions of trial courts or administrative agencies if the losing party appeals to such a decision. Appellate court decisions are made by a panel of judges without a jury.


Settlement of a dispute b/w two parties instead of going to court by any third person chosen by both sides. This third person is called an arbitrator.

Arrest warrant:

An order from a court authorizing the police to arrest an accused person, under section 64 (PFA) all forest officials can arrest an offender without an arrest warrant.


1. a violent physical or verbal attack 2. An unlawful threat or attempt to do violence or harm to somebody else


To transfer to another person all or part of one’s property, interest, or rights. For example, if company A has made a contract with company B to buy 10 trucks from B, and then A realizes it does not need the trucks, A can assign its rights to buy the trucks to another company.


A sum of money deposited to secure an accused person’s temporary release from custody and to guarantee that person’s appearance in court at a later date. If the person fails to appear in court on the date set, the money is forfeited (zabt kia jae ga).

Bench trial:

A trial where the judge decides the outcome and there is no jury.

Breach of contract:

1. The failure of a person to meet or perform his or her obligations under a contract if there is no legal excuse for that failure. 2. Non-fulfillment of the terms of an agreement, by that, agreement gets broken. The affected party can claim compensation (money in payment for loss).

Burden of proof:

The duty to prove a fact that is in dispute and is relevant to the issue being contested. Rules of procedure establish which party has the burden of proof in any particular situation. For example, the government has the burden to prove that an individual committed a crime-the individual is not required to prove he or she is innocent.


A general term for a lawsuit.


Includes elephants, camels, buffaloes, horses, mares, geldings, ponies, colts (horse less than four year’s age), fillies (a female horse less than four year’s age), mules, asses, pigs, rams, ewes, sheep, lambs, goats and kids.

Cattle Pond:

It is an enclosure in which cattle seized for illegal grazing are kept. Cattle ponds are established by the district magistrate upon the request of FO. Pond keeper is the charge whose duty is to feed and to look after the cattle.

Cause of action:

The act or acts of one person (defendant) that invade the legal rights of another person (plaintiff) and entitle the plaintiff to seek a judicial remedy with a civil lawsuit. Also known as a claim.

Civil law:

The body of law governing certain relationships between people, such as marriage, contracts, and torts (injuries), as distinguished from criminal law. The term civil law also refers to the legal tradition derived from the ancient Roman law that is presently used in most non-English-speaking countries. In civil law systems, all laws are made by legislators and contained in comprehensively written codes (books of statutes) rather than made by judges through their decisions.

Civil suit:

Any complaint to a court about a dispute of civil nature. (not criminal)

Cognizable and Non-cognizable offenses:


(Noticeable) (Section 64) In Cognizable offenses, the forest police can arrest the offender without an arrest warrant from the magistrate. All the forest offenses are cognizable except 2 or 3 offenses.


(Section 74) In Non-cognizable offenses, forest police cannot arrest the offender without an arrest warrant. All the offenses which carry a punishment of fewer than 3 years imprisonment are non-cognizable. In case of forest offenses which carry less than one-month imprisonment are non-cognizable eg in case of some of the offenses of the protected forest, the forest officer cannot arrest without warrant.


It is an illegal/ immoral agreement b/w two parties/ persons. The purpose of which is to cause harm to a third person/ party.

Common law:

The legal tradition developed in England beginning in the 11th century and presently used in most English-speaking countries. In common law systems, legal rules are created by the decisions of judges.


The receipt of a sum of money from the offense in return – not taking the case to a court. This sum of money is fixed for all type of offense. The power of compounding forest offense is given in section 68 (PFA). Forest officers above or equal to the rank of RFO can exercise this power. Once a case has been compounded, all the seized property must be released. The offense in section 62, 63 (PFA) cannot be compounded.


A written or verbal statement admitting the commission of a crime. Confession by free will is valid under the law.


1. It is the taking away of all private property connected to a forest offense by the court as a punishment. It is defined in section 55 (PFA). 2. To seize property legally forfeited to the public treasury as a penalty. The goods were confiscated by customs.


The fundamental law of a nation or state that establishes the nature and limitations of the government. The constitution may be written (as in the United States) or unwritten (as in Great Britain).


An agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation for each to do or refrain from doing something and that is enforceable in court.


The judgment that a person accused of a crime is guilty. A conviction can result from the accuser’s guilty plea or from a trial.


A claim by a defendant in response to a plaintiff’s claim-as when a patient sues a physician for malpractice and the physician counterclaims that the patient failed to pay the bill.

Criminal breach of trust:

PPC section 405. The dishonest use of any entrusted property. The govt places forest property in the supervision of forest official. If the public breaks this trust then they are punishable with up to 7 years imprisonment and fine.

Criminal law:

Law that declares certain behavior to be harmful to society and establishes the punishment for such behavior.

Criminal misappropriation:

Section 403 [1](PPC). It is also the dishonest taking over of any movable property. In this case the first intentions are fair but later on, the person converts the taken over property for self-use. Punishment for this is less than that for theft. It is up to 2 years imprisonment or fine or both.

Criminal trespass:

It is a wrongful entry into another person’s property with the intention to commit an offense or to threaten, insult, etc to the owner under section 441 PPC. The maximum punishment is up to 3 months imprisonment or fine or both.


After the completion of exam-in-chief, the lawyer of the other side asks questions to the witness. (See Exam-in-chief)


A document with which an owner transfers ownership of an object or a plot of land to someone else.


The person who is sued in a civil lawsuit, or the person accused of a crime in a criminal lawsuit.


The testimony of a witness obtained through an oral interview or written questions (interrogatories) outside of court. The interview process is also known as a deposition.


The process by which parties acquire information about the case from each other before trial. The term also applies to the specific techniques that the law permits for obtaining the information, such as depositions.


The explicit disagreement of one or more judges of an appellate court with the decision passed by a majority of the judges. The judges who disagree with the majority may or may not write a dissenting opinion; such an opinion is also known as a dissent.


1. The right to use, but not to own, someone else’s property. For example, if person A’s land does not border on a road, A may ask his or her neighbor B for an easement to build a driveway across B’s land to the road. 2. It is a class of servitude. It is right to take the thing from another person’s property eg right of using way.


The property which is taken over by the Govt after the death of a person who has no heirs.


All the means/ methods by which any fact is proved or disproved. It includes all statements (oral evidence) and documents (documentary evidence).


In the court trial, there are two parties:

  1. Prosecution (police/ forest officials) &
  2. Defense (accused)

Both these parties have their own lawyers and witness. In examination-in-chief, the lawyer of a party asks a question from their own witness. It is also called the first examination. (See also Cross-examination; Re-examination).

Ex post facto law:

A law passed after the occurrence of an action, which changes the legal consequences of the action. The U.S. Constitution forbids the enactment of ex-post facto laws. From Latin meaning after the fact.


A crime that is more serious than a misdemeanor. Commonly, statutes in the United States define felonies as crimes that are punishable by imprisonment for a year or more or by death.


Generally, it is the taking away of all immovable property of a criminal by the govt as a punishment. The court awards such punishments for serious crimes.

Forest law:

The law which relates to the forest; the transit of forest product and duty imposed on timber produce and on other forest products’.

Forest offenses:

Forest-offence means an offense punishable under this Act or under any rule made thereunder (below this).


It means any person whom the Provincial Government or any officer empowered by the Provincial Government in this behalf, may appoint to carry out all or any of the purposes of this Act or to do anything required by this Act or any rule made hereunder (after this) to be done by a Forest-officer.

Jobs of FO:

The FO performs a different job.

  1. Professional mgt of the forest as regards growth, cultivation, etc.
  2. Business managers as regard funds, etc.
  3. Policing of forest and the revenues
  4. Protection objectives.


It includes:
(a)       The following whether found in, or brought from, a forest or not, that is to say, timber, charcoal, caoutchouc, catechu, wood oil, resin, natural varnish, bark, lac, mahua flowers, mahua seeds, and myrabolams; and
(b)       The following when found in or brought from a forest that is to say:-
(i)        Trees and leaves; flowers and fruits, and all other parts or produce not hereinbefore mentioned, of trees,
(ii)       Plants not being trees (including grass, creepers, reeds, and moss), and all parts or produce of such plants,
(iii)      Wild animals and skins, tusks, horns, bones, silk, cocoons, honey, and wax, and all other parts of the produce of animals, and
(iv)      Peat, surface soil, rock, and minerals (including limestone, laterite, mineral oils, and all products of mines or quarries).

Forest rights:

Main forest rights are:

  1. Right for grazing: In this number of cattle, type of cattle, grazing season, limits with grazing may be allowed, is checked.
  2. Right for grass cutting:
  3. Wood rights: Timber for building purposes, firewood, small wood, implement and big roots.
  4. Right to other forest products: Eg fruits, honey, leaves, bark, etc.
  5. Hunting and fishing rights:
  6. Rights to remove litter, small organisms:

Forest settlement officer:

The Forest Settlement-officer is an officer appointed to inquire into and determine the existence, nature and extent of any rights alleged (asserted but not yet proven) to exist in favour of any person in or over any land comprised within a reserved forest, or in or over any forest-produce, and to deal with the same.

Grand jury:

A group of people who hear evidence against a person accused of a crime and determine whether sufficient information exists to charge the person with the crime.

Guzara Forest:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)

Immovable Property:

Any property which cannot be shifted from one place to another eg land and fixtures (objects in a fixed position), attached to it. Generally, all crops are considered as movable property. In some cases, trees are considered as immovable property eg fruit trees. If the main function of the tree is timber, it is movable. (See Movable property)


A grand jury’s formal written accusation that a person committed a crime. The U.S. Constitution requires the government to obtain indictments for certain serious crimes rather than useful information.


A written accusation that a person committed a crime. An information differs from an indictment because it is issued by a government official (usually the prosecutor), rather than by a grand jury.


A court order prohibiting a person from doing a specific act or commanding the person to discontinue acting in a certain way.


Start trouble: to cause trouble, especially by urging somebody to do something destructive or wrong


The period during which a person does not exercise/ use his legal rights by free will for 2 years.


A set of written questions submitted to a witness before a trial to obtain information about the case.


The period during which a person is not allowed to exercise/ use his right by outside force, pressure, threat, etc. If the interruption continues for a specific time period without any objection from the right holder, the right will be lost.


A legal matter in a dispute between two parties


A public officer who presides over a court and decides questions of law.


The final decision of a court resolving the dispute and determining the rights of the parties.


The right of a court to hear and determine a case.


A group of people, who hear the evidence, determine the facts, and-after instruction by the judge-determine the legal outcome of a case. Also known as a petit jury to distinguish it from grand


Law is the set of all those principles which are aimed at regulating conduct b/w the individuals in society. Where the court recognizes and applies these principles in the administration.

Legal Classes of Forest:

Forests have been classified on the basis of ownership. The forests owned by the govt have been classified into:

  • Reserved Forests:

  • In such a forest, people have generally very few rights. The statement in that forest in which ‘all the actions are prohibited unless permitted’. This has been declared as reserved forest under the forest act 1927. The sub-classes of reserved forest are:
    1. State Forest: Such forests exist in Balochistan and AJK, similarly municipal forest and cantonment forest can also be included under this classification. All the irrigated plantations are reserved forests.
    2. Protected Forest: The standard statement is ‘that forest in which all actions are permitted unless prohibited’. People have some rights and concession in protected forest eg right of grazing and right of grass cutting. Generally, protected forests are located close to inhabitations whereas reserved forests are located far away from habitation.
    3. Resume Lands: These lands were taken over from big landlords by the govt under various land reforms introduced in 1960 and 1977 and material-law regulations. Such lands which are managed by forest dept are called resume lands.
    4. Unclassed Forest: The lands which have not been classified as any particular type of forest are called unclassed forests. The revenue from such land is collected by the revenue department.
  • Primary Owned Forests:

    1. Guzara Forest: The forests which are the individual or joint property of families in the village either managed by the forest department or the co-operative societies. (60% owner; 20% forest dept; 20% development fund for nurseries, afforestation). Guzara forests are found in Hazara division. Some parts of Muree, Kahota, and in Dir also.
    2. Communal Forest: Communal forests are also a type of guzara forest. It is the joint ownership of all the villagers of a village. Such forests are found in Rawalpindi.
    3. Section 38 Areas: These are defined in section 38 of PFA. These are privately owned lands which are voluntarily or temporarily put under the control of forest dept for the conservation and preservation of soil and vegetation and agreement is signed b/w govt and owner.
    4. Chos act Forest: According to this law, the forest department can take over private land for the purpose of soil and water conservation. After a treatment of 10-20 years. The lands are returned to the owner.

Leading question:

1. It is a question which either contains the answer suggests the answer, or whose answer can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These questions are asked by lawyers during examination-in-chief and cross-examination. Eg instead of asking ‘what is your name?’ the question may be ‘isn’t your name…?’ 2. A question asked in a way that prompts the desired answer, e.g. “Do you think the government should be wasting taxpayers’ money on such a venture (risky project, money risked)?”


A claim against the property of another person for payment of some debt or obligation that the person owes to the claimant. For example, if a bank loans person money to buy a car, the bank may retain a lien against the car. If the buyer fails to make regular payments on his or her loan, the bank can take possession of the car.

Majority opinion:

The opinion was written by the majority of judges of an appellate court to explain their decision if the panel is not unanimous.


PPC (Pakistan Panel Code) Section 425, any attempt to destroy or decrease the value of any property. The mischief of setting a fire in a forest is punishable with up to 7 years imprisonment and fine.


Any conduct which not considered acceptable and is punishable under law and rules.


A crime less serious than a felony and, in the United States, generally punishable by a fine or by imprisonment for less than one year.

Mistake of fact:

If somebody can legally do a thing but due to some unintentional mistake doest something else ie an offense, he will not be responsible for the offense. Eg forest official has the power to arrest an offender if he arrests a wrong person he cannot be blamed.

Mistake of law:

Any unawareness, misunderstanding or wrong interpretation etc. Law has no excuse for an offense, under the law everybody is bound to know and understand all laws prevailing in the country.


An agreement where someone gives money to another person so that he can buy a property being used as the security. When the loaner pays back the loan, the property belongs to him.


A written or oral request to the court for a ruling or order directing that some act is done.

Movable properties:

Movable properties are that which can move from place to place eg chair, table, etc. Generally, all crops are considered as movable property. In some cases, trees are considered as immovable property eg fruit trees. If the main function of the tree is timber, it is movable.


1. An official crime or a crime against moral, social, or other accepted standards Mail fraud is a federal offense 2. Any act punishable by law for the time being in force.


A written explanation of a judge’s decision.


An order from the govt. Any law promulgated by the president and not by the parliament.


In a civil case, the individual or organization suing (known as the plaintiff) or being sued (the defendant). In a criminal case, the two parties are the government (prosecution) and the person accused of a crime (defendant).


It is a punishment for breaking a law or contract.


In a civil case, the party who initiates the case is the plaintiff. In a criminal case, the government (prosecution) is the plaintiff.


A document filed by each party at the beginning of a lawsuit, stating each side’s descriptions of the controversy and what each party thinks the court should do about it.


it is a right of neighbors and relatives. A person is bound to first offer his immovable property for sale to his neighbors and relatives before offering it to outsiders.


Prior cases with similar circumstances that help the court decide the current case.


It is an old method of acquiring property. If someone openly and fairly occupies a piece of land for a long time, then after a certain period of time he becomes the legal owner of the land. The title of this property is prescription.

Private Forests:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)

Private law:

In common language, ‘civil law’ is called ‘private law’ and ‘criminal law’ is called ‘public law’.

Property mark:

It is a particular name or design which identifies the owner of the property marked.

Protected Forests:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)

Protected Forests State Lands:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)

Reasonable doubt:

In the United States, the standard used to determine the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime. The prosecution must demonstrate to the jury that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


The offender himself signs the surety bond before the police/ forest officials promising to appear in court when called. Forest Officers can take the recognizance under sec 65 (PFA) and release the arrested person. Police usu takes recognizance from the witness and complainant.


It is done after cross-examination is over. In this stay, the witnesses are once examined by lawyers of own parts. (See exam-in-chief)

Reserved Forest:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)


Things which are not the property of anyone eg unknown.

Resume land:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)


It is a liberty to do or possess something consistent with law. Right is only accepted, if it is admissible under the law. Its two main classes are i) private right ii) public right.

Royal Tree:

A tree which is considered as Govt property even if it is grown on private land eg Deodar (Cedrus deodara).


Royalty is money paid to the landowner for the right to use his property eg if people extract stones from the forest land, they have to pay the royalty to the forest dept.


Rules are made by Govt as a further explanation of law passed by the parliament. Rules are made under the law and therefore must be compatible with it. Laws are made by the supreme authority (parliament, president, etc) whereas rules are made by govt departments (forest dept, law dept, etc).


Timbers transported by water route occasionally get drifted and get out of control. The saving/ recollection of this timber is called Salvage. If a private person collects it, he is unrewarded.

Search Warrant:

It is an official document signed by a magistrate allowing police/ forest officials to enter private property and search for persons or things used in a crime. Forest official can issue search warrants in same case section 72 (PFA).

Section 38 areas:

(See Legal Classes of Forest)


it is the taking into custody of any properly connected with a forest offence. Powers of seizure are given to forest officials under section 52 (PFA). Under section 53 (PFA) forest officers have the power to release seized property and under section 62 (PFA) forest officials are prevented from making wrong seizures.


A restriction or obligation attached to a property that entitles somebody other than the owner to a specific use of it such as the right to cross it

Special law:

Any law which pertains to a particular field only eg forest law, income tax law, etc.

Stare decisis:

The policy that directs judges to follow precedent. It is a Latin phrase meaning to abide by decided cases.

Statute of limitations:

A law that requires lawsuits to be filed within a certain number of months or years after the event that triggers the lawsuit occurs.

Stay order:

An order from a court directing the withholding of all proceeding in a dispute until the final decision by the court.

Summary judgment:

A judgment given by the judge before the parties present any evidence. Judges may issue summary judgments if there are no disputed facts and only an issue of law must be determined.

Summary Trial:

It is a very quick and short duration trial of an offence cure under section 67 (PFA) all forest offences except those mentioned in section 63 can be trial summary.

Summon cases/ Warrant cases:

All criminal cases are opened by summon or warrant in the first stage. A summon is issued for less serious crime. All forests offenses except the one punishable by section 63 (PFA) are summon cases.


It is an official order from a court requiring someone to appear in court for trial for an offence or to defend a civil case.


Information given by a witness under oath during a trial, pretrial proceeding, or administrative hearing. It may be oral or in the form of affidavits or depositions. Testimony is a form of evidence.


Section 378 (PPC). Dishonest taking over of any movable property which in the possession of somebody else without his consent. The maximum punishment is up to 3 years imprisonment or fine or both.


Under civil law, a wrong committed by one person against another.


TM or trade name is a particular name which identifies the product maker and has been registered by the maker which cannot by used by other makers. .

Treasure trove:

Any hidden treasure which has been discovered now. The discoverer is entitled to receive a reward of 75%.

Tress Passing:

Go onto somebody else’s land or enter somebody else’s property without permission.


Proceedings in a court, in which the judge or jury listens to the parties’ presentation of evidence and then makes a decision based on the law.


The jury’s decision about the matters presented for their determination during a trial.


A Latin word meaning against. The abbreviation for versus, v., is used with the names of the parties to identify a lawsuit. For example, Behramshahi v. Pringabad.

Village Forests:

Any forest land which has been constituted as a reserved forest may be placed under the mgt of village forest.


Written orders from a judge etc giving the police authority to do something eg arrest warrant.


A person who testifies, either orally or in writing, before a court or administrative agency.

Waif Wood:

The timber which is un-marked and transported by water route is a waif food. Trees which have fallen during storms are also termed as waif wood. All waif wood is considered govt’s property until the claimant proves.


An area of land that is desolate or barren and not used. Govt is the owner of all wastelands. People can have rights in wastelands.


To leave property etc to somebody, after one had died, by means of will.


In Forestry this term is used to describe those trees which have been fallen down in a windstorm.


A legal document which initiates a legal care in a high court/ Supreme Court. In a writ, the aggrieved people challenge the legal authority of Govt and request the court to grant justice, etc.
[1] PPC = Pakistan Panel Code

For correction and improvements please use the comments section below. Add new terms/short notes from the latest papers in the comments section below.

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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