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1896. accused cut the trees standing on the land. It must be admittedthat no evidence has been laid before the Court that the land inquestion was not included in a reserved or village forest. Mr.Justice Withers, in 8,926, Police Court, Nuwara Eliya, decidedon 19th March last {New Law Reports, p. 73), held that such evi-dence was necessary, but he allowed the Crown an opportunity tosupply the deficiency at a further hearing which he ordered. TheCrown should be given a similar opportunity in the present case.[BONSER, C.J.—Ought you not also to prove that the land inquestion is one “ in respect of which no person has acquired any“ right by written grant or lease made by or on behalf of the British,“ Dutch, or native Governments, and duly registered as required“ by law ” ; or one “ in respect of which no person has acquired a“right as against the Crown by the issue to him of any certificate“ of no claim by the Crown under Ordinance No. 12 of 1840 or“ No. 1 of 1841 ” ; or one “ not registered as temple lands under“ Ordinance No. 10 of 1856 ?” These appear to be qualifications ofthe expression “ land at the disposal of the Crown.”] The defini-tion of that expression has not been so construed before. Whatappears as (6), (c), and (d) in the definition clause, and what has justbeen interpreted as qualifications of (a), have always been read asdifferent classes of lands, and not as narrowing the purview of (a).[BONSER, C.J.—Take (<f), and the definition would run as follows:
“ Land at the disposal of the Crown means all landnot
“ registered as temple lands under Ordinance No. 10 of 1856.”Could the Crown claim the honse in which you are residing asland at the disposal of the Crown, because it was not registered asa temple land ? Or take (c), and the definition would run as fol-lows : “ Land at the disposal of the Crown means all land
“ in respect of which no person has acquired a right as against the“ Crown by the issue to him of any certificate of no claim by the“ Crown,” &c. Would this entitle the Crown to claim your resi-dence as land at its disposal, because you have not acquired it underthe certificate mentioned ?] In neither case could the Crown claimmy residence, aB my title to it rests on a Crown grant, which fallswithin (5). The intention of the Legislature was to describe fourclasses of lands as comprehended in the expression “ land at the“disposal of the Crown.” That intention has been inartisticallyexpressed, being open to the reductio ad absttrdum interpreta-tion suggested. But that difficulty arises only when the clause isread too literally. On the other hand, it is impossible to construe“ (d) ” as a qualification or cutting down of “ (a) ” withoutadding many new words to “ (d).”
BONSER, CJ.—I admit that difficulty.
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Rdmanathan.—Grammatically, then, the interpretation of theCourt is inconclusive in regard to the theory that (6), (e), and (d)are qualifications of (a). By the word “means” the Legislaturemeant “ includes,” so that the definition would run as follows :“ Land at the disposal of the Crown includes the different classes“ of lands mentioned in (a), (b), (c), and (d)." [BONSER, O.J.—Ithas been held that “ includes ” signifies “ has the following mean-ings in addition to its popular meaning,” IS L. R., Q. B.,195.] It issubmitted that “ means ” here signifies “ includes ” in its ordinarysense. But is it necessary to decide this question in the presentcase ? If the Court holds that (b), (c), and (d) are qualificationsof (a), it is submitted that the onus of proving the negativefacts contemplated by (6), (c), and (d) does not lie on the Crown.There is evidence on record to show that the first accused orderedthe clearing of the land.
11th July, 1895. Bonser, C.J.—
In this case the appellants were found guilty of “clearing a land“ at the disposal of the Crown, to wit, Galpilleheressa, for chena“ cultivation, without a permit from the Government Agent of“ the Province or the Assistant Agent of the district, in breach“ of rule 1 of the rules framed under chapter IV. of Ordinance“ No. 10 of 1885, as prescribed by the Government Agent of the“ Province and approved by the Governor, with the advice of the“ Executive Council, published in Gazette No. 4,915 of March 22,“1889, and thereby committing an offence punishable under“ section 42 of Ordinance No. 10 of 1885,” and the first appellantwas sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 30, or in default to undergo onemonth’s simple imprisonment, and the second appellant was finedRs. 5.
The first appellant is the owner of a tea estate near Undugoda,and he haB recently cleared some land, on which forest treeswere growing, which adjoined his estate. The second appellantwas a contractor whom the first appellant employed to clear theland in question. There is no evidence as to the purpose forwhich the land was cleared, except that one of the witnesses forthe prosecution stated that when he inspected the land the firstaccused was opening up a road. It appears from the evidencethat the accused's land is planted with tea, and one might assumethat the adjoining land was cleared by him to be used for a similarpurpose. As 1 said before, there is no evidence which points to
1896.July tt.
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180B. the purpose tor which the land was cleared, except to be need forJidyll. » road. Now, what the regulation whloh he is charged with in-Bomsa, O.J. fringing forbids is "clearing land at the disposal of the Orown for"chena cultivation." Therefore, the purpose for whloh the clearingis made is part of the offence. Clearing by itself without apermit is not made an offence by any rule; it is clearing for aparticular purpose, and that purpose not having been proved herethe oonvlction cannot be supported.
The Solicitor-General, who appeared to support the conviction,admitted that it oould not be supported owing to another difficulty,and that was, that there was no evidence that the land olearedwas not within a reserved forest, for if it was within a reservedforeBt the regulations would not apply. But there was another'1difficulty, namely, that it is not proved that this land was land atthe disposal of the Crown. Section 3 of Ordinance No. 10 of 1385defines the expression “ land at the disposal of the Orown ” tomean all land, and then there is a dash and four douses, eachheaded by a letter. The Solicitor-General said that the land inquestion came within clause (a) of the definition, as being landwhich, under Ordinance No. 12 of 1840, seotion 6, was presumed tobe the property of the Orown until the oontrary be proved; in otherwords, that it was forest, waste, unoooupied, or uncultivated land;and he further contended that these clauses (a), (5), (c), and (d)were to be considered independently, and that it was sufficient ifyou found any land that answered the description given in anyone of those clauses. But it appears to me that that is an impos-sible interpretation of the olauses. Apply that interpretation toolause (d). It that clause is to be read independently, the seotionwould read—"land at the disposal of the Orown" means allland not registered as temple land under Ordinance No. 10 of 1856.Now, it is a well-known principle of interpretation that wherethe word “ means” is used in an interpretation Ordinance it signi-fies that the word defined is to have that meaning, and no other.The result, therefore, would be that, once you found land was notregistered as temple land, it was for the purpose of that Ordinance“ltfnd at the disposal of the Orown." That is an impossibleinterpretation. In the same way take olause (c), and we arrive at anequally absurd result if we interpret that independently, for thenwe should have a definition of “ land at the disposal of the Orown"as referring to "all land in respeot of which no person has" acquired a right as against the Orown by the issue to him of a“ certificate of no claim by the Orown under Ordinance No. 12 of" 1840 or No. 1 of 1844." It seems to me that the only way of read-ing the Interpretation olause, so as to make intelligible sense, is to
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read clauses (b), (c), and (d) as cutting down the generality of the 1896.definition contained in clanse (a), so that the meaning would be MyU.that “ land at the disposal of the Crown ” means all forest, waste, Bonn, CJ.unoccupied, or uncultivated land, which has not been expresslygranted away by the Crown (clause 6), or in respect of which theCrown has not waived its right by issuing its certificate of non-claim (clause c), or which has not been registered a temple land(clause d). But it is not necessary to decide the meaning of “ land“ at the disposal of the Crown” in this case. I have expressed mypresent opinion of its meaning, but I am open to re-consider myopinion at any time on further argument.
The Solicitor-General asked that the case may be sent back forfurther evidence. The case stands thus. The defendant claims tobe the owner of this land, and he produced a conveyance of theland to himself made juBt before the clearing operation. Therewas also some evidence that the land or a portion of it had beencultivated in years gone by. The evidence as to the ownership ofthe land called on behalf of the prosecution was of the vaguestnature, merely consisting of an assertion by a number of witnessesthat the land was Crown land. Having regard to all the circum-stances of the case and to the fact that, if the defendant has beenacting illegally, the Crown has its civil remedy, I do not think itproper to send the case back as the Solicitor-General asks may bedone, and I therefore quash the conviction and acquit the accused.
Accused acquitted.