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When the person is not acquiring any further right in the land to be included in the wild life sanct

M/s Natesan Agencies (Plantations) Vs. State Represented by the Secretary to Government Environment and Forest Department, Review Petition (C) D. No.46265 of 2019 in Civil Appeal No. 5397 of 2010 – 5th February 2020.

The Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Dinesh Maheswari pronounced the following judgment.

Facts: The appellant firm had taken the land in question on lease for a period of 5 years from 01.07.1972 to 30.06.1977 from its owner Sri Nanamamalai Jeer Mutt for plantation and co-related purposes. By a notification, the land was to be included under the area for wildlife sanctuary under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. However, a fresh lease of 25 years was made by the appellants from 1977 to 2002. The appellant and the Mutt tried to get the land in question exempted from the sanctuary but remained unsuccessful. On the other hand, the proceedings for award of compensation in relation to the land in question remained under contemplation. Instead of making any award, the Collector issued an order excluding the land from the limits of wild life sanctuary. Being aggrieved the appellants have made the appeal. The Single Judge Bench in High Court allowed the appeal but then the Division Bench did not approve the order so passed by the Judge. While acknowledging the powers of the Government to withdraw from the notification, dismissed the writ petition and left it open for the appellants to claim damages from the correct forum. A civil suit for damages for filed by the appellants against the State as it prevented from using the land in question.

The Civil Suit which was filed by the appellant was decreed by the single judge of the High Court but the Division Bench reversed the same.

The Court after examination found that after issuance of the notification and inclusion of the subject land therein. The appellant had no other right in the land after expiry of the term of lease and hence, the alleged second lease for a period of 25 years was of no effect; and the appellant had no right to claim damages from the State. Also, there is no evidence to show that the State prevented the appellants from going inside the forest and collecting usufructs and there was no basis for the appellants to maintain an action for damages. The appellant was not entitled for damages under section 14 of the Limitation Act as the matter in issue was different from the relief claimed in the present suit.

Therefore, the court was unable to find errors in the judgment and the petition was dismissed.

– Vydurya Selvi Baskaran

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