SAM3211AWICKRAJIE, I.—Sultan v. The Kachchcri Surveyor, Trincomalcc 2&1
Present.: Samerawickrame, J.Y. 31. SULTAN, Appellant, and THE KACIICHERI S UK YE Y OK,Till C03fALEE, Respondent
A. C. 371 j6S—J/. G. Trincomalcc, 1102
Forest. Ordinance—Prosecution thereunder—Validity if object is to protect Crownland.
AVIioro lho real object of u prosocul ion under (lio Forest Ordinance) is toprotect Crown land, (ho prosecution may proceed tinder (hat Ordinance oventhough there is a dispute as to (ho Crown’s title to (ho hind.
from ;i judgment of Iho Magistrate's Court, TrincomaJce.
G. F. Sclhulcavulitr, with S. G. Wijesekera, for the accused-appellant.
Lalilli liodriejo, Crown Counsel, for the A11onicy-Genera 1.
Cur. adv. vidt.
December 20, 1969. Sa.mekawickra.mb, J.—
Tlie appellant Mas convicted of the offence of breaking tip soil forpurpose of cultivation of an extent of forest not included in a reserve orvillage forest in breach of certain rules made under the Forest Ordinance.Learned counsel for the appellant referred to certain unsuccessful pro-ceedings had against the appellant earlier and submitted that the learnedmagistrate ought to have referred the prosecution to a civil court in thatthe claim made by the appellant had been the subject of a dispute andthe object of the present proceedings M as not therefore to protect Crown
2SS SAMEKAWICKRAME, J.-—Sultan r. The Kachcheri Surveyor, Trincomulcc
lands but in order to obtain an expeditious decision of that claim and herelied on the ease of Weerahoon v. Iianhamy l. 1 might have acceded tothe submission made by learned counsel if not for the evidence given bythe appellant himself. He said that he had been cutting and cultivatingCrown land without a permit from the government. He attempted tomake out that he had done so for a period of 33 years. This was not putto the prosecution witnesses. In fact, it was put to one of them thatthe records in the department showed that the accused had cultivatedthe land for a period of 25 3-cars. I am unable to take the view thatthese proceedings have not been brought with the object of protectingCrown lands and, I think that this ease falls not within the rulein Weerakoon v. Ranhamy (supra) but within the rule set out in Wijesun-dcrci v. Karmanis Appu cl til,- in which MacdoncII, C.J., held that wherethe real object of the prosecution under the Forest Ordinance is to protectCrown land the prosecution may proceed under that Ordinance eventhough there is a dispmtc as to the Crown's title to the land.
Learned counsel next submitted that the land was not forest; thatthough it appears to be within the wide definition of forest contained inthe Forest Ordinance that that definition must be read in connectionwith the title to the Ordinance and its general object—vide The. Muda-liyar of Rayitjatn Korale v. Sinmippu.15 In that ease the accused hadcleared up forest land and planted it with coconut, jak, etc., but in certainsettlement proceedings it had been held that the land was Crown land.Thereafter the accused was given the land upon condition that he was tomake certain payments. On his default in making payments it wassought to proceed against him under the Forest Ordinance, on the basisthat the land was land at tlie disposal of the Crown. The present ease isquite different. The evidence is that this land falls within the Fodderreservation and reservation along the stream.
Learned counsel submitted that this was land that had been allottedunder the Land Development Ordinance and that it was lit. iefo;c notat the. disposal of the Crown. The Kachcheri Surveyor staled undercross-examination, ‘'These are lots that are supposed to have beenallotted by the government to various allottees ”. Why the witness usedthe word “supposed ” is made clear by the document D2 produced bythe appellant- which indicates that the allottees had nil surrenderedtheir permits and that at the time they did so the appellant was inoccupation of these lands. Having regard to the evidence of theappellant it may well be that they surrendered their permits becausethey could not get possession as against the appellant.
I am of the view that it has not been shown that t lie order of the learnedmagistrate is wrong or that the conviction of the appellant should not beupheld. The appeal is dismissed.
* (1021) -’.J A'. L. H. s;>.- (1012) 2S'!. n (1.022) 21 .V. L. It. 210.
Y. M. SULTAN, Appellant, and THE KACHCHERI SURVEYOR, TRINCOMALEE, Respondent