Divisional Forest Officer, Munnar, Kerala vs P.J. Antony 2024 INSC 411-S 69 Kerala Forest Act – Presumption

Kerala Forest Act, 1961; Section 69– Presumption under Section 69 of the Forest Act is a remarkable one and the burden of proving the foundational facts, which would give rise to the presumption, would be upon the prosecution – whenever a statute provides for ‘reason to believe’, either the reasons should appear on the face of the notice or they must be available in the materials which are placed before the authority-Even though the formation of an opinion as to the expression ‘reason to believe’, may be subjective, it must be based on material on the record and cannot be arbitrary, capricious or whimsical. (Para 11-2)

Kerala Forest Act, 1961; Section 52,61A – When it is an admitted fact that the offence, if any, committed by accused in relation to the movement of the fallen and dried sandalwood, so as to stack it at one place, it would be relatable to the Kerala Preservation of Trees Act, 1986 and would not constitute an offence under the Forest Act. (Para 10)

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