Libertatem Magazine

Tripura HC Orders Divisional Forest Protection Party to Pay Damages in Illegal Detention of Vehicle Case

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An appeal was made by Ranjan Choudhury son of late Chandradoy Choudhury, seeking compensation to the extent of Rs.65,12,000/- because of the loss suffered by the plaintiff from illegal detention of their vehicle by Divisional Forest Protection Party (DFPP) at Champaknagar Forest Drop.

Facts of the case

On 27.09.1995, the said vehicle was seized by the Divisional Forest Protection Party (DFPP) at Champaknagar Forest Drop Gate and Shal timbers were seized from the vehicle. Based on illegal transportation the vehicle was seized by the forest department.

Submissions of the Petitioner

Most of their concern was based on their previous pleas and no new arguments were produced. The plaintiff filed several writs claiming the release of his vehicle from 27.05.1996 to 04.06.1999, the plaintiff also by filing a writ petition claimed for release of his vehicle at Gauhati High Court considering the area of dispute came under their jurisdiction, but all of them were disposed against the favour of the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed damages on the basis that the possession of vehicle by the defendant was unlawful as stated in the judgment and the order passed on 28.02.2014 delivered in WP(C) 391 of 2005 titled as ‘The State of Tripura and another vs. Ranjan Choudhury and another’.

Furthermore, photos were produced by the Appellant showing that the vehicle is in not state of usage at the current time due to the lack of proper basic care from the defendant.

Submissions of the Respondent

The defendants claimed that they are not liable to any such compensation to the plaintiff as the claim was unreasonable. The defendants also stated that all the necessary evidence and facts relevant to the case were not revealed including the necessary party involved. The defendant further accused that these were only allegations produced by the plaintiff on Mala Fide basis and were meant to harass them. Other than questioning the maintainability of the suit the defendant also raised another crucial issue regarding the ownership of the vehicle. The ownership certificate of the vehicle being TRL-3899 was with one Priyavart Choudhury but that person has not been made a party in the suit. On the date of the seizure ownership of the vehicle was limited to Priyavart Choudhury but the ownership had been indisputably transferred to the plaintiff on 14.05.1996. The defendant furthermore stated that right after the seizure of the vehicle a notice was issued but no response was made regarding the same. Then after the issue of the second notice, Shri Moin Pal came to appraise the authorized officer that the vehicle was registered in the name of one Priyavart Choudhury but he had leased out the said vehicle to the plaintiff. The said information was verified by the transport department.

Verdict of the Court

Court after examining all the evidence in detail concluded the verdict providing the petitioner to have their vehicle returned from the possession of the defendant within two months from the date of Judgement upon failure of which the defendant has the right to get disposed of the vehicle without any liability to the petitioner. Also, the court directed the defendant to pay a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- as the gross compensation covering losses and depreciation that the plaintiff has suffered during the period from 28.02.2014, failing to which the said amount shall carry interest at the rate of 7% from 28.02..2014 till the date of payment.

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