IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No.269 OF 2008
State of Kerala ….Appellant(s)
Jossy Sequeria …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) This appeal is filed by the State of Kerala
against the final judgment dated 23.03.2006 passed
by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in C.R.P.
No. 1924 of 2003 wherein the High Court allowed
the revision petition filed by the respondent herein
and quashed the confiscation order.
2) The controversy involved in the appeal is short.
However, few facts need mention to appreciate the
3) The appellant is State of Kerala. On
29.11.1998, the police sleuths seized 3 bags of
sandalwood weighing 20 Kg. from one Jeep bearing
Registration No. KA-12-2932. Basheer-the driver of
the Jeep was arrested and handed over to the
custody of Assistant Wild Life Warden, Tholpetty.
The Jeep was also handed over to the said authority
for further action in the case.
4) On investigation, it was revealed that the
respondent is the owner of the Jeep. His statement
was accordingly recorded. The authority concerned,
on investigation, prima facie found that the forest
produce seized was a Government property and the
same was being illegally transported in the Jeep.
5) A show cause notice was accordingly issued to
the respondent on 06.03.1999 to appear before the
authorized officer. The respondent was heard.
Finding no satisfactory reply, the authorized officer
confiscated the forest produce and the Jeep under
Section 61-A of the Kerala Forest Act, 1961
(hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) by order dated
6) The respondent, felt aggrieved of the order
dated 30.04.1999, filed appeal before the Additional
District Judge Wayanad. By order dated
07.04.2003, the Appellate Court dismissed the
appeal. The respondent, felt aggrieved of the order of
the Appellate Court, filed revision petition before the
7) By impugned order, the High Court allowed
the revision and quashed the confiscation order. It
is against this order of the High Court, the State of
Kerala has felt aggrieved and filed this appeal by
way of special leave before this Court.
8) Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we
find no merit in the appeal.
9) We find that the High Court while allowing the
respondent’s revision petition for quashing
confiscation order had placed reliance on the
decision of the Kerala High Court in Bhargavan vs.
Divisional Forest Officer, 1994(2) KLT 29. We have
perused the decision rendered by the Kerala High
Court in the case of Bhargavan (supra) wherein the
High Court (Single Judge) on somewhat similar
facts alike herein interpreted Section 61-A of the Act
read with the Rules and had quashed the
confiscation order impugned therein.
10) We are in agreement with the reasoning of the
High Court recorded in the case of Bhargavan
(supra). In this view of the matter, the High Court
in this case was justified in deciding the issue in the
light of law laid down by the Kerala High Court in
Bhargavan’s case (supra).
11) We also find in this case that the Courts below
held on facts that firstly, the seized goods in
question were being brought from Karnataka by the
owner of the Jeep; and secondly, it could not be
proved that the goods belonged to the State of
12) With these two findings of fact recorded by the
Courts below, the High Court was justified in
quashing confiscation order made under Section
61-A of the Act. We find no good ground to set aside
these findings of fact.
13) In view of foregoing discussion, the appeal is
found to be devoid of merit. It thus fails and is
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
September 05, 2017