United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Management and Control of Forests) Act, 1958
(United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Act 1 of 1959)
Last Updated 12th February, 2020 [ass263]
(a) "District Council" means the District Council of the "Khasi Hills Autonomous District
(b) "District Fund" means the District Fund of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District constituted under paragraph 7 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India and "District" means the Autonomous District of the United Khasi- Jaintia Hills ;
(c) "Dolloiships" means those areas in the Jowai Sub-division known as "British Dolloiships" prior to the commencement of the Constitution of India. They are nineteen in number as shown in Appendix I;
(d) "Durbar" means the customary Durbar of the Syiem, Lyngdoh, Sirdar, Dolloi, Wahadadar or head, as the case may be ;
(e) "Executive Committee" means the Executive Committee of the District Council of the United Khasi-Jainita Hills Autonomous District, and the terms "Chief Executive Member" and "Member of the Executive Committee" shall be construed accordingly ;
(f) "Forest" means and shall be deemed to be a forest, if in the area, there are reasonable number of trees, say, not less than twenty-five trees per acre, reserved or unreserved or any other forest produce growing on such area, which have been or are capable of being exploited for purposes of business or trade ;
(g) "Forest Officer" means any person appointed by name or is holding office by or under the Executive Committee and includes the Chief Forest Officer, an Assistant Forest Officer,Forest Ranger, Deputy Forest Ranger Forester, Assistant Forester, Forest Guard or any person or agent discharging the function of a Forest Officer under this Act or any rule, thereunder ;
(h) "Forest produce" includes-
(1) those which are found in or brought from a forest namely : timber, charcoal, caoutchoue, rasin, bark, myrabolam,
(2) trees, plants not being trees including grass, creepers, reids, canes, orchids; and
(3) skin, tusks, horns, bones, lacs and silk cocoons found in or brought from a forest;
(i) "Forest offence" means an offence punishable under this Act or any rule thereunder:
(j) "Government" means the Government of Assam ;
(k) "He"-the pronoun "He" and its derivatives are used so as to include any person whether male or female ;
(l) "Magistrate" means a magistrate of the first class or second class and includes a magistrate. of the third class when he is specially empowered by the Executive Committee to try forest offences.
(m) "Prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(n) "Rangbah kur" means the representatives of a family clan or (group of) joint clans ;
(o) "Reserved forest" means any area which is a reserved forest as defined in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 3 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India ;
(p) "Reserved trees" are such trees as may be reserved by the order of the District Council ;
(q) "River" includes also streams, canals and other channels natural or artificial;
(r) "Reid" means a distinct within the Syiemship, Dolloiship, Lgdohship, Sirdarship or Wahadadarship composed of one or more villages ;
(s) "Syiemship" means those areas known as "Khasi State" prior to the commencement of the Constitution of India. They are twenty-five in number as shown in Appendix II;
(t) "Sirdarships" means those areas in the Shillong Sub-division known as 'British Sirdarship' prior to the commencement of the Constitution of India. They are thirty-one in number as shown in Appendix III ;
(u) "Tree" includes palms, bamboos, slums, brushwood and canes ;
(v) "Timber" includes trees where they have fallen or have been felled, and all woods, whether cut of or fashioned or hollowed cut for any purpose;
(w) "this Act" means the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Management and Control of Forests) Act, 1958 (Act No. 1 of 1959, as amended).3. Classification of forest. - The forests to which this Act applies are classified under the following categories :
(i) (a) Private Forest. - These are forests belonging to an individual or clan or joint clans which are grown or inherited by him or them in recognised private lands (Ri Kynti);
(b) Law-Ri-Sumar. - These are forests belonging to an individual clan or joint clans which are grown or inherited by him or them in a village common raj land.
(ii) Law Lijngdoh, Law Kyntang, Lazo Niam,-These are forests set apart on religious purpose and hitherto managed or controlled by the Lyngdoh or other person or persons to whom the religious ceremonies for the particular locality or village or villagers are entrusted.Explanation. - Lyngdoh in this particular respect is a religious head and not the administrative head mentioned in Section 2 (s).
(iii) Law-Adong and Law-Shnong. - These are village forests hitherto reserved by the villagers themselves for conserving water, etc, for the use of the villagers and managed by the Sirdar or headmen with the help of the Village Durbar ;
(iv) Protected Forests. - These are areas already declared protected for the growth of trees for the benefit of the local inhabitants and also forests that may be so declared by rules under this Act;
(v) Green Block. - These are forests belonging to an individual family or clans or joint clans and raj lands already declared as Green Block by Government for aesthetic beauty and water supply of the town of Shillong and its suburbs and also forests that may be so declared by rules under this Act;
(vi) Raid Forests. - These are forests looked after by the heads of the Raid under the management of the local administrative head ;
(vii) District Council Reserved Forests. - These are forests that may be so declared by the Executive Committee under this Act or the rules made thereunder;
(viii) Unclassed Forests. - These are forests hitherto known as Unclassed State Forests before the commencement of the Constitution of India directly managed and controlled by the Government including any other forest(s) not falling within any of the above classification.4. Management and control. - (a) Private Forest and Law-Ri-Sumar shall be managed by the owners thereof subject to the rules that may be framed by the Executive Committee from time to time in the general interest of the forestry of the district.
(b) Law Lyngdoh, Law Kyntang, Law Niam shall be managed by the Lyngdoh or person or persons mentioned in Section 3 (ii) above in accordance with the customary practice in vogue subject to the rules that may be framed by the Executive Committee from time to time.
(c) Law Adong and Law Shnong shall be managed by the Sirdars or headmen mentioned in Section 3 (iii) above in accordance with the customary practice in vogue subject to the rules that may be framed by the Executive Committee from time to time.
(d) Protected Forests shall be looked after by the local administrative heads in accordance with the rules framed by the Executive Committee.
(e) Green Blocks shall be looked after by the owners in accordance with the rules framed by the Executive Committee.
(f) Raid Forest shall be managed by the heads of the Raid under the management of the local administrative heads subject to the rules to be prescribed by the Executive Committee.
(g) District Council Reserved Forests shall be owned, managed and controlled by the Executive Committee.
(h) Unclassed Forests shall be directly managed and controlled by the Executive Committee.4A. Whenever there is no unanimity among the joint owners or a dispute arises as to the right of ownerships over any Private Forest, Law-Ri-Sumar or over any portion of forest included within a Green Block, or whenever a territorial dispute arises between the different local administrative units over any Raid Forest or any other forest, the Executive Committee may, in order to avoid waste, damage and complications thereof which in its opinion are detrimental or likely to be detrimental to the interest of the forests in general and the parties concerned in particular, take over the management of such forests until the matter has been finally settled and shall manage them during such period in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder as far as practicable. 5. Removal of forest produce. - No timber or forest produce shall be removed for the purpose of sale, trade or business from Protected Forests, Green Blocks, Raid Forests, Unclassed Forests and District Council reserved Forests without the order in writing of the Forest Officer of the District Council. 6. Reserved trees. - The Executive Committee may, by notification in the Assam Gazette, declare certain trees to be reserved trees in addition to the following :
3. Niar iong.
8. Diengbai.7. Restriction on the felling of trees. - Subject to Section 6 above no tree shall be felled in any forests mentioned in sub- Sections [(i) (a) (b), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) and (viii)] of Section 3 without the previous sanction of the Chief Forest Officer of the District Council or any officer duly authorised by him in writing: Provided that no tree below 1.37 metre in girth at breast height shall be felled : Provided however that the Executive Committee may, by express order in writing, relax conditionally or unconditionally the operation of the foregoing proviso, in tire case of special circumstances such as in the case of thinning in congested parches of young trees or in consideration of a planned reafforestation and/or re-generation or in consideration of any other ground which could not be avoided; provided that such ground shall be expressed in writing. 8. Rates of royalty. - The Executive Committee may make rules fixing the rates and realisation of royalty for each class of trees, timber or forest produce which shall be published in the Assam Gazette : Provided-
(i) that all royalty realised shall be credited to the District Fund ;
(ii) that the royalty on timbers of the Reserved trees from Raid Forests, Unclassed Forests, Protected Forests shall be half the full rates in respect of persons living in the neighbouring area of the forests concerned where the timber is/are needed for their own domestic use, that is for building purpose only. The Executive Committee may, however, relax this provision in case of timbers needed for public utility;
(iii) that no royalty shall be charged for the removal of timbers from Raid Forest, Unclassed Forest except reserved trees by the members of the Raid for their own domestic use or public purpose ;
(iv) that the District Council shall annually give to the Syiemships a share of royalty at a percentage to be prescribed by it.9. No tree shall be felled or removed from Law' Lyngdoh, Law Kyntang, Law Niam except for purposes connected with religious functions or ceremonies recognised and sanctioned by the Lyngdoh or other persons in accordance with Section 4 (b). 10. No tree shall be felled or removed from Law Adong except for genuine purposes of the village as may be sanctioned by the Sirdar or headman in accordance with Section 4 (c). 11. All timbers or forest produce removed from private forests and Law'-Ri-Sumar shall be liable to payment of [* * *] royalty prescribed for such timber or forest produce under Section 8 above, [at a percentage as may, by notification, be fixed by the Executive Committee] when exported beyond the District or when brought to Shillong in vehicles for purposes of trade. 12. Control over ferrying and transit of forest produce. - (1) The control of all rivers and their banks as regards the floating of timber as well as the control of all forest produce in transit by land or water is vested in the Executive Committee which may make rules, e.g., to regulate the transit of any forest produce. (2) Such rules may, among other matters-
(a) provide for the stoppage, reporting, examination and marking of forest produce in transit, in respect of which there is reason to believe that any money is payable to the District Council or to which it is desirable for the purpose of this Act to affix a mark ;
(b) establish revenue stations to which forest produce is' to be taken by the person in charge of it for examination or for realisation of such money or in order that such mark may be affixed to it and prescribe or authorise a Forest Officer, subject to such control as aforesaid to prescribe the conditions under which forest produce is to be brought to, stored at and removed from such revenue station ;
(c) provide for the management and control of such revenue stations and for regulating the appointment and duties of persons employed thereat;
(d) regulate the establishment of saw' mills or saw pits or workshops using or consuming timbers and prohibit, absolutely or subject to conditions as may be specified in a permit which may be issued by the Executive Committee for a particular or local area or for the whole Autonomous District in general, the establishment of saw mills or saw pits or workshops using or consuming timbers and including the converting, cutting, burning, concealing, marking or supermarking of timber, the altering or effacing of any mark on the same and possession or carrying of marking hammers or other implements used for marking timber ;
(e) regulate the use of property marks for timber and the registration of such marks, authorise the refusal or cancellation of the registration on any property marks, prescribe the time for which the registration of property marks is to hold good, limit the number of such marks which may be registered by any one person and provide for the levy of fees for such registration.(3) The Executive Committee may direct that any rules made under this section shall not apply to any specified class of timber or other forest produce or to any specified local area. 13. Power to regulate telling of trees, etc. - The Executive Committee shall have power to-
(a) regulate or prohibit the kindling of fires, and prescribe the precautions to be taken to prevent the spread of fires ;
(b) regulate or prohibit the felling, cutting, girdling, marking, lopping, tapping or injuring by fire or otherwise of any trees, the sawing, conversion and removal, and the collection and removal of other forest produce ;
(c) regulate or prohibit the boiling of catechu or the burning of lime or charcoal;
(d) regulate or prohibit the cutting of grass and pasturing of cattle and regulate the payment, if any, to be made for such cutting or pasturing;
(e) regulate the sale of free grant of forest produce ; and
(f) prescribe or authorise any Forest Officer to prescribe subject to the control of the Executive Committee, the fees, royalties, or other payments for forest produce, and the manner in which such fees, royalties, or other payments are to be levied, in transit or partly in transit or otherwise.14. Penalty for infringement of restrictions. - If any person infringes the provisions of Sections 5 and 11 he shall be punished with a fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and in default of payment of fine, he may be liable to imprisonment which may extend to two months : Provided that the Chief Forest Officer may compound an offence under this section where the value of the timber involved does not exceed rupees one thousand. 15. Penalty for infringement of restrictions. - If any person infringes the provisions of Section 7 he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 3,000 or with both; Provided that the Chief Forest Officer may compound an offence under this section when the value of trees felled does not exceed rupees one thousand. 16. Penalty for infringement of restrictions. - If any person infringes the rules or directions made and issued by the Executive Committee under Section 13 he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 3,000 or with both : Provided that the offence may be compounded by the Executive Committee on realisation of a compound fee which may extend to Rs. 3,000. 16A. On receipt of an offence report, it shall be the duly of the Chief Forest Officer to forward without delay such offence report, over which he has no power to compound, to a magistrate as may be empowered by the Executive Committee by a notification in the official Gazette, to try such offences and pass such orders or do such acts in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder. 17. Seizure of property liable to confiscation. - (1) Where there is reason to believe that a forest offence has been committed in respect of any forest produce, such produce together with all tools, boats and vehicles used in the commission of such alleged offence may be seized by any Forest Officer. (2) Every' officer seizing any property under this section shall place on such property a mark indicating that the same has been so seized and shall, as soon as may be, make a report of such seizure to the magistrate, having jurisdiction to try the person accused of the offence on account of which the seizure has been made, through his official superior : Provided that when the forest produce with respect to which such offence is believed to have been committed is the property of the District Council and the offender is unknown, it shall be sufficient if the officer makes, as soon as may be, a report of the circumstances to his official superior. 18. Execution of bond for the release of seized properties. - Any Forest Officer of a rank not inferior to that of a Forester who or whose subordinate has seized any tools, boats or vehicles under Section 17 may release the same on the execution by the owner or the person in charge thereof of a bond for the production of the property so released if and when so required before the magistrate having jurisdiction to try the offence on account of which the seizure has been made. 19. Trial of the accused and disposal of property. - Upon the receipt of any such report the magistrate shall take such measures as may be necessary for the trial of the accused and the disposal of the property according to law. 20. Confiscation on conviction. - (1) When any person is convicted of a forest offence all forest produce which is not the property of the District Council and in respect of which such offence has been committed and all tools, boats and vehicles used in the commission of such offence, shall be liable, by order of the convicting court, to confiscation. (2) Such confiscation may be in addition to any other punishment prescribed for such offence. 21. Disposal of confiscated property. - When the trial of any forest offence is concluded, any forest produce in respect of which such offence has been committed shall, if it is the property of the District Council or has been confiscated, be taken possession of by a Forest Officer specially empowered in this behalf, and, in any other case shall be disposed of in such manner as the court may order. 22. Custody of seized property when offender is not known or absconds. - (1) When the offender is not known or cannot be found, the magistrate enquiring into the offence, if he finds that an offence has been committed, may, on application in this behalf, order the property in respect of which the offence has been committed to be confiscated and taken possession of by a Forest Officer specially empowered in this behalf, or to be made over to such Forest Officer or other person as the magistrate may consider fit or entitled to the same : Provided that no such order shall be made till the may expiry of one month from the date of the seizure of such property, or without hearing the person, if any, claiming any right thereto, and the evidence, if any, which he may produce in support of his claim. (2) The magistrate shall either cause a notice of any application under sub-section (1) to be served upon any person whom he has reason to believe to be interested in property seized, or publish such notice in any way which he may think fit. 23. Disposal of perishable property seized. - Tire magistrate may notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, direct the sale of any property seized under Section 17 which is subject to speedy and natural decay, and may dealt with the proceeds as he might have with such property if it has not been sold. 24. Appeals. - Any person claiming to be interested in the property passed under Section 17 may, within one month from the date of any order passed by a magistrate under Section 20, Section 21 or Section 22 present an appeal therefrom to the Court to which orders made by such a magistrate are ordinarily appealable. 25. Disposal of seized property after appeal. - When an order for the confiscation of any property has been passed under Section 20 or Section 22 and the period limited by Section 24 for presenting an appeal from such order has elapsed, and no such appeal has been presented or when, on such an appeal being presented, the appellate court confirms such order in respect of the whole or a portion of such property, such property or portion, as the case may be, shall vest in the District Council free from all encumbrances. 26. Powers to release seized property and withdrawal of charges. - Nothing hereinbefore contained shall be deemed to prevent any Forest Officer or other officer empowered in this behalf by the Executive Committee from directing, at any time, the immediate release of any property seized under Section 17 which is not the property of the District Council and the withdrawal of any charge made in respect of such property. 27. Punishment for malicious seizure. - (1) Any Forest Officer who vexatiously and maliciously seized any property on pretence of seizing property liable to confiscation under this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or with both. (2) Any fine so imposed, or any portion thereof, shall, if the convicting court so directs, be given as compensation to the person aggrieved by such seizure. 28. Punishment with intent to cause damage or injury. - Whoever with intent to cause damage or injury to the public or to any person, or to cause wrongful gain as defined in the Indian Penal Code-
(a) knowingly counterfeits upon trees or timber or mark used by Forest Officers to indicate that such tree or timber is the property of the District Council or of some person, or that it may unlawfully be felled or removed by some person, or
(b) unlawfully affixes to any tree or timber a mark used by Forest Officer, or
(c) alters, defaces or obliterates any such mark placed on any tree or timber by, or under the authority of a Forest Officer, or
(d) alters, moves, destroy or defaces any boundary mark of any forest or waste land to which any provisions of this Act apply,shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 600 or with both. 29. Power to arrest without orders or warrant. - (1) Any Forest Officer may without order from a magistrate and without warrant, arrest any person reasonably suspected of having been concerned in any forest offence punishable with imprisonment for one month or upwards, if such person refuses to give his name and residence or give a name or residence where there is reason to believe to be false or if there is reason to believe that he will abscond. (2) Every officer making an arrest under this section shall, without unnecessary delay, take or send the person arrested before a magistrate having jurisdiction in the case within a period of 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate. 30. Duty of Forest Officers to prevent commission of forest offence. - It shall be the duty of every Forest Officer to prevent and any such officer may interfere for the purpose of preventing the commission of any forest offence. 30A. All Forest Officers shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of Indian Penal Code. 31. (1) The Executive Committee may, by notification in the Gazette, empower a Forest Officer by name or as holding an office-
(a) to accept from any person against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed any forest offence, other than an offence specified in Section 27 or Section 28, a sum of money by way of compensation for an offence which such person is suspected to have committed; and
(b) when any property has been seized as liable to confiscation to release the same on payment of the value thereof as estimated by such officer.(2) On the payment of such sum of money or such value or both, as the case may be, to such officer, the suspected person, if in custody, shall be discharged, the property, if any, seized shall be released and no further proceeding shall be taken against such person or property. (3) No Forest Officer shall be empowered under this section unless he is a Forest Officer who is in receipt of a monthly salary amounting to at least Rs. 100 and the sum of money accepted as compensation under Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of this section shall, in no case, exceed the sum of rupees fifty. 32. Compensation in addition to punishment. - (1) When any person is convicted of felling, cutting, girdling, marking, lopping or tapping trees, or of injuring them by fire or otherwise in contravention of this Act or of any rule thereunder the convicting court may, in addition to any other punishment which it may award, order that person to pay to the District Council such compensation, not exceeding ten rupees for each tree, with respect to which the offence was committed, as it may deem just. (2) If the person convicted of the offence committed is the agent or servant of another person, the convicting court may, if after hearing that other person is satisfied that the commission of the offence was a consequence of his instigation, or of any neglect or default on his part, order him instead of the person who committed the offence, to pay the compensation referred to in sub-section (1) of this section. (3) An appeal from any order under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of this section shall lie to the court to which orders made by convicting court are ordinarily appealable. 33. Forfeiture of lease, licence or contract on the commission of a forest offence. - When the holder of any lease, licence or contract whatsoever granted by or on behalf of the District Council or any of the purpose of this Act, commits an offence against this Act or any rule thereunder, or when any such offence is committed by an agent or servant of the holder of any such lease, licence or contract and the Executive Committee is satisfied that the commission of the offence was a consequence of the instigation of such holder or of any neglect or default on his part, the Executive Committee may, by order in writing, declare the lease licence or contract to be forfeited in whole or in part with effect from a date to be specified in the order not being prior to the date or the commission of the offence. 34. Power to make rules for improvement of forest. - The Executive Committee may, from time to time, frame rules not inconsistent with the 'provision of the Act for carrying out the purposes of this Act, more effectively on all or any of the following matters :
(a) The improvement and management of the forest ;
(b) The collection of royalty on timbers and forest produces ;
(c) Providing uniforms to such Forest Officers as the Executive Committee may deem fit;
(d) Any other matter connected with the improvement, management, control and administration of forests.35. No suit or legal proceedings shall lie against the Executive Committee of the officers for anything done or purported to have been done in good faith under this Act and in pursuance of any lawful notice or order issued under this Act and the Rules made thereunder.
[Vide Section 2 (c)]
1. Amwi Dolloiship.
2. Darrang Dolloiship.
3. Jowai Dolloiship.
4. Lakadong Dolloiship.
5. Mynso Dolloiship.
6. Maskut Dolloiship.
7. Nongbah Dolloiship.
8. Nongtalang Dolloiship.
9. Nongkhlieh Dolloiship.
10. Narpuh Dolloiship.
11. Nartiang Dolloiship.
12. Nongjngi Dolloiship.
13. Raliang Dolloiship.
14. Rymbai Dolloiship.
15. Satpator Dolloiship.
16. Shangpung Dolloiship.
17. Sutnga Dolloiship.
18. Shilliangmyntang Dolloiship.
19. Saipung Sirdarship.
[Vide Section 2 (s)]
1. Bhowal Syiemship.
2. Khyrim Syiemship.
3. Cherra Syiemship.
4. Jirang Syiemship.
5. Mylliem Syiemship,
6. Langrin Syiemship.
7. Maharam Syiemship.
8. Mawsynram Syiemship.
9. Myriaw Syiemship.
10. Mawiang Syiemship.
11. Malaisohmat Syiemship.
12. Nongkhiaw Syiemship.
13. Nongstoin Syiemship.
14. Nongspung Syiemship.
15. Nobosohphoh Syiemship.
16. Rambrai Syiemship.
17. Lynion Lyngdohship.
18. Mawphlang Lyngdohship.
19. Sohiong Lyngdohship.
20. Wahadarship of Sheila Confederacy.
21. Dwara Nongtymem Sirdarship.
22. Mawdon Sirdarship.
23. Mawlong Sirdarship.
24. Nonglwai Sirdarship.
25. Pamsanngut Sirdarship.
[Vide Section 2 (t)]
1. Byrong Sirdarship.
2. Jymgam Sirdarship.
3. Laitlyngkot Sirdarship.
4. Laitkroh Sirdarship.
5. Lakading Sirdarship.
6. Myrdon Sirdarship.
7. Mawmluh Sirdarship.
8. Mawbeh Larkhar Sirdarship.
9. Mawthang Sohkhyllung Sirdarship.
10. Mawsmai Nongthymmai Sirdarship.
11. Marbisu Sirdarship.
12. Mynteng Sirdarship.
13. Nongbah Sirdarship.
14. Nongpoh Sirdarship.
15. Nongkroh Sirdarship.
16. Nongjri Sirdarship.
17. Nongriat Sirdarship.
18. Nongshluid Sirdarship.
19. Nongriangsi Sirdarship.
20. Nonglang Sirdarship.
21. Nonglyngkien Sirdarship.
22. Nonglait Sirdarship.
23. Ramdait Sirdarship.
24. Saitsohpen Sirdarship.
25. Synnei Sirdarship.
26. Sinai Mawshynrut Sirdarship.
27. Sohbar Sirdarship.
28. Tyrna Sirdarship.
29. Tynrong Sirdarship.
30. Tynriang Sirdarship.
31. Umniuth Tmar Sirdarship.