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Administration Of Forest Service And Issues Faced By The Forest Policing

"A Nation That Safeguards Forest Will Be The Finest"

The forest service in India was primarily introduced by the British Government. India is one of the countries in the world to have scientific management of its forest. The forest service in India was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India. The main mandate of the service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages scientific management of forests and to exploit them on a sustained basis for primary timber products, among other things.

The safeguard of the forest areas will be the most essential for the country wealth and to protect from the scarcity of water, polluted air. This article dealt clearly with the administrative setup of the Forest service and also the issue faced by the forest officers and in the end how to address it.

India is one of the First countries in the world to have stated scientific management of its forests. During the year 1864 the then British India Government started the Imperial Forest Department and appointed Dr. Dietrich Brandis, a German Forest officer Inspector General of Forests in 1866. Having recognized the need to have a premier forest service to manage the varied natural resources of the vast country and to organize the affairs of the Imperial Forest Department, Imperial Forest Service was constituted in 1867.

Having realized the importance of a multi-tier forest Administration in the federal and provincial Governments for effective management of forest resources the British India Government also constituted Provincial Forest Service and Executive & Subordinate Services, which were quite similar to the present day forest administrative hierarchy.

The officers appointed to the Imperial Forest Service from 1867 to 1885 were trained in France and Germany. Thereafter, until 1905 they were trained at Cooper's Hill, London, which had been one of the prestigious professional colleges of Forestry at that time. From 1905 to 1926 the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh had undertaken the task of training the officers of the Imperial Forest Service. The Imperial Forest Research Institute, Dehra

Dun, presently & popularly known all over the world as FRI was established at Dehra Dun in the year 1906. The baton to train the IFS officers was passed on to Forest Research Institute, which it did successfully from 1927 to 1932. Subsequently the Indian Forest College (IFC) was established in the year 1938 at Dehra Dun and the officers recruited to the Superior Forest Service by the provinces/states were trained there.

The subject of "Forestry" which was managed by the Federal Government until then, was transferred to the "Provincial List" by the Government of India Act, 1935 and subsequently recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service was discontinued. The Indian Forest Service, one of the three All India Services, was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India. Since 1935 the management of the forests remained in the hands of the Provincial Governments and even today the Forest Departments are managing the forests of the country under the respective State governments.

42nd Amendment To The Constitution:

Through the 42nd Amendment 1976,.Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds were transferred from state to the concurrent list. State Forest Departments have jurisdiction over two types of forests notified under the Indian Forest Act, 1927: Reserve Forests and Protected Forests where no rights are barred unless specified. villages or nagarpalika forests are managed by state revenue departments. Both the Centre and the state have power to make rules regarding the forest service. The duty to protect the forest was mentioned in our constitution itself,
  • Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.
  • Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
The administration forest service was clear from the above mentioned facts there is lot more to know about forest officers.

Organisation Of The Service:
The initial constitution of the Indian Forest Service consisted of the four following categories of the officers:
  1. Initial Recruits (IR)
  2. Emergency Commissioned/Short Service Commissioned (EC/SSC)
  3. Direct Recruits also known as Regular Recruits (DR/RRs); and
  4. Promotees (appointed from State Forest Service.)
Initial Recruits: With the constitution of the Service, the serving members of the State Forest Service borne on various State Governments and Union Territory Administrations were inducted into the Service and they had been accordingly designated as "Initial Recruits" to the Service. All members under the "IR" category have since retired on superannuation.

Emergency Commissioned/Short Service Commissioned: 20% of the permanent vacancies in the Indian Forest Service were filled by Direct Recruitment from the released "Emergency Commissioned" (EC) officers and "Short Service Commissioned" (SSC) officers and they were designated as ECs/SSCs and it continued till 28th January 1971. The last of the EC/SSC officers would superannuate from the service by 2006.

Direct Recruits: 66.33 per cent of the cadre strength of the service is filled by Direct Recruitment done through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) by conducting an all India level competitive examination open to graduates with science background. After qualifying the written examination, the candidates have to appear for a personality test, a walking test and a standard medical fitness test.

Promoters: 33.33 per cent of the cadre strength of the service, as per the regulations, is to be filled by appointing eligible officers of the State Forest Service to IFS. Vacancies under promotion quota are determined by calculating 33.33% of the total Senior Duty Posts in the Cadre in addition to Central Deputation Reserve posts, State Deputation Reserve posts and Training Reserve.

The Indian Forest Service, by virtue of being the youngest of the three All India Services, also happens to be the smallest. The total authorized cadre strength of the Indian Forest Service as on date is 3193 which includes 2242 Direct Recruit and 951 Promotion posts. The total Senior Duty Posts (SDP) in the Indian Forest Service are 1960 and the remaining under various reserves.


The Service consists of 25 State Cadres including Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT). Every State/Joint cadre has a fixed strength of posts in various grades known as Senior Duty Posts (SDP).

As per the relevant regulations in force, the strength and composition of the service in each and every State/Joint cadre is to be reviewed at 5 yearly interval by the Cadre Review Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary who makes recommendations to the Central Government on the basis of the proposals received from the State Governments.

Cadre Authorities:

In respect of the IFS officers working under the administrative control of the States, the State Governments are notified as the Cadre Authorities. Those officers allotted to the Joint cadres of Assam-Meghalaya and Manipur-Tripura, there is a Joint cadre Authority constituted by the respective State Governments under the All India Services (Joint Cadre) Rules, 1972 In respect of IFS officers of the Joint Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT Cadre) earlier known as UT cadre, the Ministry functions as the Cadre Authority.

As per the Allocation of Business Rules of the Government of India ( GOI ), the subject of the Indian Forest Service is allocated to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and thus it is the Cadre Controlling Authority for the Indian Forest Service and also the Nodal Ministry and implements all Rules, Regulations made under the AIS Act in respect of the Indian Forest Service

Designation Of Senior Duty Posts:

The administrative hierarchy of Indian Forest Service in the Forest Departments in the States and Union Territories is as under in the descending order:
  1. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
  2. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
  3. Chief Conservator of Forests
  4. Conservator of Forests
  5. Deputy Conservator of Forests

On successful completion of the professional training in forestry and allied subjects at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun, Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, one year "on the job" training in the Cadre to which the IFS probationers are allotted, and on successful completion of probation period on completion of four years of service with reference to the Year of Allotment, the officers are appointed to the Senior Time Scale. On getting the Senior Time Scale the officers are entitled to be posted as Divisional Forest Officers or Deputy Conservators of Forests in charge of

Forest Officers And Their Duties:

Forest officers are public servants employed by the Government for the administration and governance of forests across the territory of India. Forest staff's responsibility is to safeguard limited and valuable such as endangered animals, trees, sand, boulders, minerals, and forest land. As a result, they face a constant and countless problems. The three major acts which bestow power upon forest officers are: Indian Forest Act, 1927.The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 .

DU June TIES: Forest staff's job is to protect scarce and lucrative resources like endangered animals, trees, sand and boulders, minerals, and forest land. India's frontline forest staff like contract labourers, guards, foresters and rangers fight against poachers, illegal miners, and tree-fellers.

Forest Officers Died On Duty:

Reasons For The Death On Duty:

Not provide with sufficient arms:
In India some states provide the officers with Arms in field. They have been provide with, a range that includes 12-bore shotguns, 303s to INSAS rifles and SLRs ,0.32- and 0.22-calibre revolvers, etc. This arms were all basics not enough to fight against the Naxalites and encroachers. The justification was given by the government that there will be misuse of powers

Limited authority to use weapons:
Forest officers have limited authority to use weapons. They were also allowed to use weapons like a normal people under sec 96 to 106 under Indian Penal Code. Even though it was for the safety of animals and resources but still the officers were in danger to face their day to day life.

For instances, from Chhattisgarh's Indravati to Bihar valmiki tiger reserves forest staff had discontinued carrying guns for the same reason. Even in insurgent areas, the officers have limited access to use weapons.

Lack of training:
The officers have in some cases killed not by they were provide with guns but they were incapable to use it. The training for the forest officers was needed not only to protect people but also to protect themselves. In India, forest department was not much concerned like other administrative services. This was also one the one of the reason.

Shortage of Manpower:
The total number of officers strength presently 3131(2182 District Recruits and 949 promotion posts). With the mass forest area having in every state of country the strength was not enough. Another problem is this area was there were many vacant in the Department .

Forest Management is different from wildlife Management:
The forest Management involves Forest management is done with people's participation, without use of force. Wildlife management is different. There is organized smuggling by gangs operating mostly from outside the country. Foresters have been killed because of this.

In the case of Devilal and anr v. State of Rajasthan (2021)
Supreme court noted that forest officials in Assam and Maharashtra are allowed to bear arms, and observed: "We do not know what steps are being taken by other states / Union Territories where this poaching is rampant, for protection of the forests and the lives of the forest officers and staff.

Fire Power So Far Given By Some States:

ANDHRA PRADESH: Double-barrel 12 bore shotguns and 0.32 calibre revolvers have been distributed in five districts that are home to red sanders trees. There are also plans to supply firearms to frontline staff

ASSAM: 7.62x51mm self-loading rifles, 5.56x45 mm INSAS rifles, 9 mm pistols, 12 bore shotguns and 0.303 rifles have been issued to the police and foresters tasked with guarding the Kaziranga National Park

HIMACHAL PRADESH: Since 2016, forest personnel posted at check posts in Bilaspur, Dharamshala. Hamirpur, Nalagarh, Nurpur and Una forest ranges have been permitted to carry pistols, guns, revolvers or rifles to check illegal tree felling and lumber smuggling

KARNATAKA: About 2,000 weapons, including revolvers, pistols, slide-action guns, rifles and single- and double-barrel shotguns have been issued, though most are outdated, Guards are hesitant to use them because every firing incident causing injury or death leads to an FIR being fled, followed by an inquiry

MADHYA PRADESH: Issued weapons include 0.315 calibre rifles, pump-action shotguns and 0.32 revolvers

RAJASTHAN: Issued weapons include 0.22 calibre revolvers and double-barrel 12 bore shotguns

UTTARAKHAND: Forest department offices in the state have frequently requested firearms to be issued to staff, especially since June 2019, when forest guard Bahadur Singh Chauhan was shot dead by timber smugglers in the Borhaini range of the Terai Central forest division. No decision has been taken so for

UTTAR PRADESH: Issued weapons include 0.315 calibre rifles and 12 bore shotguns

WEST BENGAL: Issued weapons include 12 bore shotguns and 0.315 calibre rifles. The state government is considering providing small arms-revolvers and pistols-to range

Enhancing Legal Protection For Forest Officers:

  1. Assam took a significant step to include all the forest officer in sec197(2),criminal procedure code .This provision granted protection from arrest and criminal proceedings, unless a magisterial investigation determined that the use of firearms was deemed "unnecessary, unwarranted, and excessive." The state had to review and accept the findings of the investigation.
  2. Maharashtra also issued a similar order by following a series of tiger poaching case in 2012.

The forest department was also one of the major department in our country needed to protect the resources of our country. They were also equivalent to those of IAS,IPS officers so they must be respected and protected like them. They should be given the same power as that of police officers. Here are some ways to be followed to protect the lives of the officers:
  1. They should be provided with enough arms to fight against encroachers, Naxalites, and from those persons doing illegal mining, Tree fellers, insurgents.
  2. Sufficient power must be given to the forest officers to use the weapons and guns. Simply providing the weapons was not enough and it's totally waste. They must be provided with the authority to use those weapons.
  3. Proper Training must be provided on how to use those weapons and how to handle the animals in the forest. This was one of the important steps that are needed most in recent times.
  4. Adequate compensation must be given to the persons who died. The government should provide the family with adequate money who were emotionally and economically broken down at that time.
  5. Strong legal framework was in need to protect the officers who were dying hard to protect us. The framework must be very rigid against the offenders, and they must be punished with equivalent punishment to that of the crime committed.

In India, there are some cases where the forest officers have been arrested for shooting the people of the local place . But still there are many cases relating to the death of forest officers in India. From this it was concluded that no such misuse of power in forest department so far. So it was necessary to provide them with sufficient protection. Some states already initiated use of fire arms for the officers.

The union government should initiate the use of arms and classes for training to the officers with suitable law. The legal framework should give directions to the use of power arms for the fear of being misuse of power. This article clearly clarifies the issues regarding forest policing and suitable suggestions to it. Power was vested with the hands of government to protect our officers.



Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Kaleeswari.R
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