POWER AND LIMITATIONS OF FOREST OFFICERS:
Power to seize property which is the matter of an offence.
All FOs are empowered to use this power given in section 52.
Power to release seized property on execution of a bond.
It can be used by RFO and other seniors given in sec 53.
Power to arrest offence.
All FOs can arrest an offender without an arrest warrant from the magistrate if the punishment for the offence is more than one-month imprisonment given in sec 64.
Power to release arrested person or execution of a bond.
Only RFO and senior to him can use this power given in sec 65.
Power to compound offences.
All FO not below the rank of RFO can compound as forest offences except those mentioned in sec 62 and 63.
Power to use force.
A public servant cannot face to defend himself, for his own or govt property. He may even kill a person if he has reasonable cause for immediate apprehension of death, and if public servant causes death through exceeding his real power but acting good and doing what he believed harmful or necessary for the discharge of industry bearing no ill-will to the person killed, he cannot be charged with murder but with culpable homicide. (100 and 103 P.C)
Power to prevent offence.
FOs are bound to prevent and may interfere for the purpose of preventing a forest offence. This includes the right of warning people and taxes, saws, etc given in sec 66.
Power to prevent fires.
Forest officer can prohibit carrying or kindling a fire except at such season which the forest officer may notify in the behalf given in
FO can demand assistance in case of an emergency
involving any danger to timber depot from every person employed at the depot, all servants whether govt or private must help in case of emergency given in sec 44.
FO can also require the help
of a certain person in extinguishing forest fire and preventing steal and offences, in arresting offence.
Power to collect revenue
Power to spend govt money
Power to hold an inquiry into the forest offence
SPECIAL OBLIGATION OF FOREST OFFICER:
Special obligations under forest law:
- Forest officer cannot trade in forest produce and they are also prohibited from any taking forest land on lease given in sec 75.
- FOs are prohibited from wrongfully seizing any property connected to a forest offence given in sec 62.
Special obligations under PPC act.
- Any public servant who accepts bribe can be punished with up to 3 years imprisonment fine or both to help in crime.
- Abetment of an offence is punishable under sec 116 of PPC and punishment for this offence is half of the punishment of the actual offence.
- Criminal breast of trust by a public servant carries a punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment or fine or both.
- Signing a false certificate is also an offence. Wrong and max punishment for this offence is 3 years imprisonment
PROTECTION EXTENDED BY LAW TO FOREST OFFICER UNDER THE FOREST ACT GENERAL LAW:
- FO is not answerable for loss or damage to forest produce which has been detained at a check post or stored at a forest depot for inspection etc. if the loss was not caused due to negligence or fraud as given in sec 43 (PFA).
- No suit shall lie against any forest officer for anything done by him in good faith under the forest act given in sec 74 (PFA).
- It is about these terms: i) Mistake of fact ii) Mistake of law
- The protection provided to all public servants against prosecution for the offence done due to the resistance of fact but not due to a mistake of law.
- If public servant commits a crime, he cannot be arrested and prosecuted without permission of the govt.
PROCEDURE OF DEALING WITH A FOREST OFFENCE:
- Arrest the offender.
- Seize the property which is part of that offence.
- 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.
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