be no doubt that forests and forestry are subjects of prime importance for a country
and the public interest. The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was enacted after repealing
the Indian Forest Act, 1878 for the purpose of consolidating the law relating to
forests, the transit of forest produce and the duty leviable on timber and other
forest produce. This Act is an important piece of the Central legislation and various
State enactments have made amendments to suit their local requirements and some
of the States have enacted their own full scale forests Acts.
Forest Act was enacted to preserve and safeguard the forests generally in India.
The Act makes various provisions for such conservation of forests and in the scheme
it provides for a State Government to constitute any forest lands or waste lands,
which are property of Government over which the Government have proprietary rights,
a reserved forest.
The Act deals
with the subject in 13 Chapters. Chapter 1 deals with short title and extent of
the Act. Chapter II of the Act deals with the subject of reserved forests. Chapter
III deals with village forests. Chapter IV deals with protected forests. Chapter
V deals with forest and lands not being the property of Government. Chapter VI deals
with imposition of duty on timber and other forest produce by the Central Government.
Chapter VII deals with control over timber and other forest produce in transit.
Section 41 confers on the State Government the power to make rules to regulate the
transit of forest produce.
of Chapter VIII of the Act is to regulate the rights of owner in drift and stranded
timber. Chapter IX deals with penalty and procedure and recognize that some forest
produce may, in the first instance, not be the property of the Government. Chapter
X of the Act deals with applicability of the Cattle Trespass Act, 1871 in a reserved
forest or in any portion of a protected forest which has been lawfully closed to
grazing. Chapter X also deals with the power of the State Government to issue notification
in respect of lines. Chapter XI deals with the powers and duties of the Forest Officer.
Chapter XII empowers the State Government to make subsidiary rules. Chapter XIII
deals with moral duties of the citizen to help Forest Officers and Police Officers
in carrying out their duties with the purview of the Act. This chapter deals with
other miscellaneous matters also.
In this manner
the Act contemplates the protection of forest land under certain conditions, whether
they be reserved forests, village forests, protected forests or forest of private
the Indian Forest Act deals specifically with (i) reserved forests; (ii) village
forest, viz., reserved forest which have been assigned to any village community; and
(iii) protected forests. The preamble and other provisions of the Forest Act are
wide enough to cover all categories of forests. This Act is one curtailing proprietary
rights of individuals and so the Act and the notifications issued under it must
be construed strictly where the rights of individuals are trenched upon.
Any person commits any of the following offences, namely:-
1) Fells, girdles, lops, taps or burns any tree
reserved under Section 30, or strips off the bark or leaves from, or otherwise damages,
any such trees.
Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with
2) Contrary to any prohibition under Section
30, quarries any stone or burns any lime or charcoal, or collects, subjects to any
manufacturing process, or removes, any
3) Contrary to any prohibition under Section
30, breaks up or clears for cultivation or any purpose any land in any protected
4) Sets, fire to such forest, or kindles a fire
without taking all reasonable precaution to prevent its spreading to any tree reserved
under Section 30,, whether standing, fallen
on felled or two any such trees or closed portion of such forest.
5) Leaves burning any fire kindled by him in
the vicinity of any such trees or closed portion.
6) Fells any tree of drags any timber so as to
damage any tree reserved as aforesaid.
7) Permits cattle to damage any such tree; and
8) Infringes any rule made under Section 32.
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