Kochi: The High Court on Thursday directed the Chief Conservator of Forests to issue appropriate directions to all the forest rangers that in cases involving forest offences appropriate market value of the forest produce seized should be shown in the relevant records.

Justice K.T. Sankaran passed the direction while dismissing a bail petition of two persons arrested in connection with a forest crime. The court pointed out that in many forest cases the valuation given by forest officers for the seized produces was very low.

The purpose for giving such value was not known. It was a matter to be looked into by the government and the Forest Department.

The correct valuation of produces seized was necessary for proper disposal of cases.

Statutory appeals

A full Bench on Thursday held that while disposing of statutory appeals and revisions, the decision need not be taken by the official who had earlier heard the matters.

The Bench comprising Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair, V.Giri and Justice C.T. Ravikumar said that in fact, such decisions were taken in accordance with the Rules of Business.

The order might be signed by secretary or additional secretary or joint secretary or deputy secretary or under secretary in the matter. But the decision might not be taken by the officer who signed it.

The principle of natural justice could not be invoked in such matters.

Marad appeal admitted

The court on Thursday admitted a criminal revision petition filed by Shymala, mother of two victims in the Marad massacre case, against the acquittal of 73 accused persons by the Kozhikode Additional Sessions Court (Special).

She also pleaded that death sentence be given to 63 persons who were found guilty by the session court.

According to her, the sentenced imposed on the accused were not severe.