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Present : Bertram C.J.
THE MUDALIYAR OF RAYIGAM KORALE v. SINNAPPU.
341—P. C. Panadure, 74,626.
Forest Ordinance, 1909—Land at the disposal of the Croton—Land inpossession ofaccused-—Investigation oftitleby Croton—Claim
rejected—Purchase by accused—Payment by instalments—Only oneinstalment paid—Cut-tiny of trees . by accused—Charge under theForest Ordinance.
The accused was in possession of a piece of land for severalyears, and planted it with coconut, jak, dec. The GovernmentAgent investigated the title to this land, and rejected the claimof theaccused,and accused bought it from the Crown on terms
that he should pay for it by instalments. He paid only oneinstalment, and did not pay the others. Accused was chargedunder the Forest Ordinance for cutting down some trees.
Held,in thecircumstances, the chargeunderthe Forest Ordi-
nance was wrong. “ He (counsel for the Crown) urges that theaccused has admitted the Crown's title by .becoming the purchaser,and that as he has not completed the payment of his instalments,the land is still Crown land. Being Crown land it is land at thedisposalof theCrown, and consequentlyforest.I need only say
that this is not the kind of case in which the Forest Ordinance wasintended to apply. The word * forest ’ mast be read in connectionwith the title to the Ordinance and its general object.
T HE facts are set out in the judgment.
Wijemanne, for the appellant.
Jansz, C.C., for the Grown.
September 29, 1922. Bebtbam G.J.—■
This is a prosecution under the Forest Ordinance, or rather undera rule made in pursuance of that Ordinance. I am not clear whetherthe rule was produced before the Magistrate, but it is always mostimportant ir these forest cases that the Court should have before
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it the rule in respect of which it has to adjudicate. As I understandthe facts, the person now charged had for many years cultivatedthis land, and he appears to have been under the impression thathe had title to it. Some time ago the Crown investigated theposition of this land, and the accused put before the GovernmentAgent all the considerations on which he relied in the' case. TheGovernment Agent did not accept them, and the land appears tohave been sold to the present accused on terms that he should payfor it by instalments. He paid one instalment, but has not paidthe others. The land when put up for sale in 1920 was describedas being wholly planted with coconut, arecanut, and jak, one totwenty years old. Although he did not pay his instalments, beremained in possession of the land, and lately he has been cuttingdown some trees. The Crown now prosecutes him for an offenceunder the Forest Ordinance. There is nothing to show that thisland is forest land in the ordinary sense. There is no evidence thatit ever was forest land. But Mr. Jansz, who appears for the Crown,relies upon the definition of “ forest " in section 3 of the ForestOrdinance, No. 16 of 1907, that is, that “ forest " means “ all landat the disposal of the Crown. ** He urges that the accused has ad-mitted the Crown’s title by becoming the purchaser, and that ashe has not completed the payment of his instalments, the land isStill Crown land. Being Crown land it is at' the disposal of theCrown, and consequently Crown forest. 1 need only say that thisis not the kind of case in which the Forest Ordinance was intendedto apply. The word ** forest ’’ must be read in connection withthe title to the Ordinance and its general object. The expression“ land at the disposal of the Crown ’’ is not fully defined. As itis defined, it does not mean only the various categories of landmentioned in the definition, but is said to include them. It leavesit open to the Crown, therefore, to say that, strictly spealdng, anyCrown land at all is forest. As I have said I do not think that thedefinition must be construed in this manner. In any case, I donot think that this is a proceeding which ought to be brought underthe Forest Ordinance. As was remarked in the case of Weerakoonv. Ranhamy 1 at the foot of page 48, the various categories of casesthere mentioned as not being such cases as ought to be dealt withcriminally under the Forest Ordinance are not exhaustive. Thisseems to me another type of case which ought not to be dealt withby the criminal remedy which that Statute provides, and on boththese grounds I would, therefore, allow the appeal, and refer to theCrown such other remedies as it may conceive it possesses.
'(1921) 23 N. L. R. 42
THE MUDALIYAR OF RAYIGAM KORALE v. SINNAPPU