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Present: LasceUes A.C.J.
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL ». ARNOLIS et at.
196—P. C. Galle, 162.
Land at die disposal of the Crown—Land bought by the Crown for thedefault of payment, of grain tax—Ordinance No. 16 of 1907.
Land bought by the Crown for the default of payment of graintax is “ land at the disposal of the Crown ” under the definition inOrdinance No. 16 of 1907.
N this case the accused was charged with an offence under section21, rule 1 (a), of the rules under chapter IV. of Ordinance
No. 16 of 1907 (published in the Government Gazette of April 23,1909), for having cultivated a field which the Crown had bought inwhen sold for non-payment of grain tax. The learned Magistrate(H. Beven, Esq.) acquitted the accused. The Attorney-Generalappealed.
Bawa, A. S;-G., for the appellant.—The Police Magistrate hasomitted to note that the definition of land at the disposal of theCrown in section 3 of Ordinance No. 16 of 1907 is not exhaustive,but inclusive. It begins : “ Land at the disposal of the Crownincludes,” and it is always open to the Crown to prove that a landthough not of the description therein specified is, nevertheless, atthe disposal of the Crown. The rule under which the defendantis charged applies to land at the disposal of the Crown withoutreference to the definition.
No appearance for the respondents.
April 6, 1911. Lascelles A.CJ.—
I am of opinion that the Police Magistrate in this case has failedto give effect to the definition of the term “ land at the disposalof the Crown ” in section 3 of “ The Forest Ordinance, 1907.”Under the second heading of the definition “ land at the disposalof the Crown ” includes, inter alia, all lands “ to which the Crown islawfully entitled.”
The Magistrate seems to have based his judgment on the groundthat land, such as that in question, is not forest in the ordinaryand popular signification of the term. The question, however, isnot whether land is “ forest,” but whether it is “ land at the disposalof the Crown ” within the meaning attributed to that expression
April e. mi
The AttorneyGeneral v.Amolie.
( ieo )in the definition of section 3 of the Forest Ordinance. Now, aglance at the definition shows that this term is intended to include,and does include, land which in ordinary language would not bedescribed as “forest,” for example, it includes land which hasbeen resumed by the Crown under the provisions of “ The LandResumption Ordinance, 1887.” The Magistrate is mistaken in hisview that the construction of the section in its ordinary and naturalsense will impose an undue burden on persons who are charged withoffences under the Ordinance. It will do nothing of the kind. Inevery case the onus will rest on the Crown of proving that theparticular land in question comes within the statutory definitionof the term “ land at the disposal of the Crown.” The suggestionthat the expression “ land to which the Crown is lawfully entitled ”is limited to uncultivated lands, is, in my opinion, untenable. Thewords mean what they say, and there is nothing in the sectionwhich justifies any other interpretation being given to them. I amclearly of opinion that the view of the learned Police Magistrateis unfounded, and I set aside the acquittal and direct him to proceedwith the trial of the charge in the ordinary course.
The same order is made in .the other cases in which the samequestion is raised, namely, Nos. 194, 195, 197, and 198.
THE ATTONEY – GENERAL v. ARNOLIS et al