Bench quashes orders passed against foresters

The Madras High Court Bench has quashed two orders passed by the District Forest Officer, Kodaikanal Division, on Feb. 28, 2006 to recover ` 7.98 lakh from the salary of two Foresters for the shortage of timber worth over ` 15 lakh from a forest sales depot when they were working at Konalar sector in the Berijam range. Justice D. Hariparanthaman quashed the recovery orders on the ground that the forest department had found out the shortage three year after the two Foresters left the range through they were supposed to conduct annual inspections as per the Forest Manual. The foresters could not be held responsible for the irregularities that might have occurred during the long gap of three years, he said. The judge also pointed out that the department had actually fixed the responsibility for the loss of the timber on one Ranger, two Foresters and four Forest Guards.

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