Natural resources and national lands that belong to the government, the environment, and the natural resources organization include lands that have not been interfered with by humans and have preserved their original, pristine and natural form. As soon as human interventions and agricultural activities are carried out in such lands, they change their nature and become reclaimed lands. Therefore, all disputes related to this area are included in the category of Natural resource claims. On the other hand, these disputes can be divided into administrative, legal and criminal lawsuits.
Administrative claims of natural resources and national lands:
In recent years, following the significant increase in the price of land and property, administrative claims in the field of national lands and natural resources have been raised in a procedural manner and have attracted the attention of land owners and officials of the Ministry of Jihad and Agriculture.
Administrative lawsuits of natural resources and national lands that do not have a legal or criminal nature are generally placed in one of the following three categories:
1- Administrative lawsuits, objection to the decision and determination of the Commission, Article 12 of the Urban Land Law, regarding whether or not a piece of land is favorable or not, or the annulment and cancellation of the decision of this commission, as well as other lawsuits related to favorable urban lands.
Article 12 of the Urban Land Law puts the identification of construction and revitalization and the determination of the type of open land and the clearing of barren land from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and stipulates that “How to identify the type of land is the subject of Article 12 of the Urban Land Law according to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Housing And urban planning prepares and implements it on time.” The desired instruction under the title “Executive Instruction of Articles One and Fourteen of Urban Land Law Regulations” was communicated to the executive authorities under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development on 5/2/1367. In the above-mentioned instructions, the identification of construction and the determination of the type of land is assigned to a commission called the Commission of Article 12 of the Urban Land Law.
2- Complaints against the decision of the seven-member board of land transfer regarding favorable and barren lands, as well as administrative claims for the cancellation and annulment of the decision of this board.
According to Article 10 of the executive regulations of the legal bill to amend the legal bill of transfer and restoration of lands in the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran approved in 58, the central headquarters is obliged immediately after the approval of the regulations to appoint seven-member delegations, five of whom are permanent and The other two are variable and are formed in provinces and cities. These boards have the task of resolving disputed cases related to the implementation of the above law, including land and water. Also, the aforementioned boards determine local customs, priorities, terms and conditions and the manner of handing over.
3- Administrative lawsuits against the decision of the judge of the board of Article One of the Law on Determining the Assignment of Disputed Lands, the subject of Article 56 of the Law on the Protection and Exploitation of Forests and Ranges, as well as administrative lawsuits related to the annulment of the decision of this board and the issuance of a verdict against the General Departments of Natural Resources
It was in January 1341 that the law on the nationalization of forests and pastures was approved and all forests and pastures were declared national. After that, the Forestry Organization became responsible for the implementation of the land nationalization law and confiscated the mentioned lands for the benefit of the government. In general, the types of authorities dealing with administrative claims related to national lands and recognizing the national nature of a land in the past years were:
1- Commission Article 20
2- Commission Article 56
3- The court
4- Disputed Land Assignment Board
5- Special branch in the center
After problems occurred in the process of handling complaints to the Court of Administrative Justice, in 1967, a single-article board was formed on the subject of the law on the assignment of disputed lands subject to article 56 of the Law on Protection and Exploitation. According to this article, the following amendments were mentioned:
1- In the single article commission, the assignment of disputed lands is the responsibility of the judge after announcing the expert’s opinion, and his opinion is binding; This is despite the fact that no judge was a member of the Article 20 Commission, and in the Article 56 Commission, the judge’s opinion was not preferred over others despite being a member of the Commission, and the decision-making criterion was the opinion of the majority of the members.
2- The number of members increased to seven. (Meetings with the presence of 5 people are official)
3- The deadline for protesting the decisions and the deadline for handling the case was removed.
Legal claims in the field of natural resources and national lands
At first glance, it seems that three categories of lawsuits in the field of natural resources and national lands can be filed in the branches of general legal courts. These three categories are:
1- Lawsuit for aggressive occupation of national lands
2- The claim of dispossessing national lands
3- Objection to the recognition of the land as national
Despite some similarities, the lawsuits of aggressive legal and criminal possession also have differences. Lawsuits of aggressive occupation (criminal and legal) in the field of natural resources are not excluded from these distinctions. These differences include:
– It is not necessary to prove and confirm the previous ownership in the case of aggressive legal possession. This is despite the fact that according to Article 690 of the Islamic Penal Code, ownership must be proven in a case of aggressive criminal possession.
– In the case of aggressive criminal possession, it is necessary to prove the psychological element of the crime (that the possessor knew that the property belonged to someone else); While it is not necessary to establish the psychological element in filing a lawsuit in public legal authorities.
– Filing an aggressive possession lawsuit in the legal court must be done by submitting a petition; While the mere filing of a criminal complaint is sufficient for criminal prosecution of the accused of aggressive possession and there is no need to submit a petition.
With the realization of the three basic pillars of aggressive occupation, i.e.:
1- Prior possession of the petitioner (that the property was in the possession of the petitioner in the past)
2- Current possession of the defendant (the property is currently in the possession of the defendant)
3- If the possession is aggressive (possession without the consent of the claimant), the case can be filed in the general legal courts.
The Natural Resources Organization files some of the cases in which the defendant, contrary to the recognition of the Forestry Organization officers, aggressively seizes national lands and natural resources, in public legal courts; However, these lawsuits are more common in general criminal courts.
The word Khalead is not defined in Iran’s civil law; But Article 308 of the said law implicitly refers to this concept. This article stipulates: “Ussage is usurpation of another’s right in an aggressive manner.” In fact, requesting the removal of usurpation means requesting Khaleed. The three necessary conditions for filing a Khaleed lawsuit are:
1- Ownership of the petitioner (in such a way that the petitioner’s ownership is proven through the presentation of an official ownership document; whether the document proving the ownership is a document registered in the notary or a court ruling that the petitioner is the owner)
2- Possession of the defendant
3- Usurpation and illegitimacy of the possession of the defendant.
Although this lawsuit is similar to the lawsuit of aggressive possession, it has differences from it. including that:
1- In the case of aggressive possession, unlike Khaleed’s case, it is not necessary to comply with the formalities of the proceedings and the proceedings are conducted out of turn.
2- Khaleed’s claim, unlike the claim of aggressive possession, can only be filed legally and cannot be filed in criminal courts.
3- Khaleed’s lawsuit can only be filed by the owner, his lawyer or his legal representative; While in the case of aggressive possession, it is not necessary for the claimant to be the owner (representative of the owner), but it is enough for the owner to be possessed.
4- The court ruling that the possession of the possessor is aggressive is executed immediately after it is issued, and there is no need for the ruling to be final; While in Khaleed’s lawsuit, a final verdict must be issued and a request for execution of the verdict must be made.
5- Since Khaleed’s lawsuit is considered a financial lawsuit, its litigation fee is calculated according to the transaction value of real estate in the region, like other legal lawsuits; While aggressive possession lawsuits are non-financial lawsuits and the cost of litigation is determined according to non-financial lawsuits.
According to Note 4 of Article 1 of the Law on Determination of Disputed Tasks under Article 56 of the Law on Forests and Rangelands, the government was obliged to take action against the land occupants who were declared after 12/16/1365. However, there is no consensus regarding the limits of the government’s authority in this matter and whether the government can take action against Khaleed or whether it should pursue this matter through judicial authorities.
It is important to mention that, on the surface, these claims in the field of natural resources and national lands may have common elements with other legal claims, but the multitude of natural or legal persons who can claim or be the defendant in these legal claims can cause the complexity of the claims. Legal mention. Complexity that only lawyers and expert legal experts are able to understand and overcome. Planning and pursuing this category of lawsuits is beyond the ability of other people who do not have executive experience in this field. On the other hand, as time passes after the approval of the law on the nationalization of forest lands and pastures and the land use changes and the condition of the lands changes, this complexity will increase. In general, the content of legal claims in the field of natural resources and national lands is new for many people in the society, and it is not common and understandable like other legal claims. The specialization of this category of lawsuits and the presence of the government as one of the parties to the lawsuit make it clear the necessity of using expert legal advice from qualified and experienced lawyers.
Criminal lawsuits in the field of natural resources and national lands
One of the branches of criminal law is related to lawsuits in the field of natural resources and national lands. In general, natural resources are those phenomena that exist on this earth and humans have not had any involvement in their creation. National lands that fall under the concept of natural resources also have a similar definition. In this way, national lands refer to lands that continue their natural life without human intervention and maintain their natural and pristine properties.
Crimes in the field of natural resources and national lands in a general classification include the following crimes, which in the next line we will try to briefly examine each of them:
1- Aggressive seizure
In the past years, there has been a significant increase in the aggressive and unauthorized occupation of national lands; In such a way that the filing of complaints under the title of removing the aggressive possession of the occupiers is increasing. Aggressive possession means unauthorized possession and illegal possession of immovable property, without the consent of its owner. This act is legally considered a crime and the perpetrator is punished according to the case. In the field of natural resources and national lands, if the national lands which belong to the general public and according to the law should be used for public interests, are illegally and without permission, taken over by legal persons or natural persons, it is a crime of possession. Aggression occurs.
In general, and especially in national lands, aggressive occupation should have the following characteristics:
1- Possession is not continuous: If the possessor has personal possession of a piece of land for many years and continuously and the new possessor dominates the said land without having a positive document and evidence of ownership, the possession of the second possessor due to non-continuity (as well as the absence of positive evidence) ownership), is aggressive. The criterion for determining continuity is custom.
2- Expropriation is by force, coercion and domination: It is considered an aggressive occupation that does not take place peacefully and with the heart of the owner, but by force, domination and force.
3- Seizure should be covert and covert: Aggressive seizure is a seizure that is not done openly and takes place secretly.
4- Aggressive possession refers to a situation where the owner’s will cannot be deduced from the possessor’s actions. If it is proven that the possessor’s possession is not due to the exercise of one of the owner’s legal rights or due to a property reason (such as a contract, inheritance, etc.) and is unauthorized and illegal, aggressive possession is realized.
According to the above article, if a person intentionally and with malicious intent creates a scene in one of the national lands, such as picketing, wall painting, changing the boundaries, etc. Possession is aggressive and will be sentenced to one month to one year of imprisonment.
A group of crimes known as land grabbing have been increasingly committed in the past years; But the problem is that this term is not defined in any law. In a general sense, land grabbing can be seen as the actions that include the desecration of other people’s properties and lands or the occupation of favorable pastures and lands, the environment, national lands or other lands and properties belonging to the government or government-affiliated companies or public organizations. And it becomes government. As you can see, part of the definition of land grabbing includes the aggressive occupation of national lands. In this way, in some cases, the punishment prescribed in Article 690 can also be applied in the case of land grabbing.
2- Registered crimes against national lands
According to Article 105 of the Real Estate and Documents Registration Law, “Except for the case mentioned in Article 33 (regarding conditional sale and the like), anyone applies for the registration of a property that has already been transferred to another person or knowing that it has been legally expropriated in some way. He has been requested to register, he is considered a fraudster, and if he was the owner at the time of the request, but was not the owner at the time of the registration of the property in the real estate register, and he did not obtain the title deed, or he did not obtain the title deed, but after the notice of the administration The registry is not ready to confirm the right of the party.
Also, according to Article 107 of the aforementioned law, “anyone who is considered as a trustee of a property as a tenant or a life partner or a rival or a resident or a steward and in general, anyone who requests to register it as ownership, will be sentenced to the punishment of a fraudster.” Article 109 of the same law also emphasizes that people who consider themselves the owner of a property that was in the possession of another and apply for registration are considered fraudsters.
According to the consensus decision No. 594 of the General Board of the Supreme Court (approved in 1373), the crimes that are considered under the fraud law, in terms of determining the punishment, are subject to the law on intensifying the punishment of the perpetrators of bribery, embezzlement and fraud approved in 67.
In order to realize registered crimes in the field of natural resources and national lands, it is necessary to fulfill the criminal elements in such a way that the perpetrator performs material and positive acts or acts contrary to the law and with fraudulent maneuvers and pretends that he is the real owner of a national land; While he is not the real owner and based on this claim, he requests the registration of that property. This crime is very common and widespread in cases where a person fraudulently expands the area of his real property and encroaches on national lands and requests its registration.
As soon as the perpetrator requests the registration of the mentioned property, the crime of registration of national lands is realized and its realization is not conditional on the registration of the property in the real estate office or the issuance of the title deed; But it is important to mention that simply being considered the possessor of a person and requesting the registration of the property by him does not fulfill the crime; Rather, it is necessary that the property is in someone else’s possession. For example, it must be proven that the natural resources organization has possession of the mentioned property in order to realize the registered offense of the possessor. Actions such as the presence of natural resources officers at the property, issuing a certificate of recognition of the national nature of the land, mapping the said property, etc., are all signs of the government’s seizure of the national land in question.
According to the first article of the law on intensifying the punishment for embezzlement, bribery and fraud, the punishment for the fraudster is to deny the original property to the owner, in addition to imprisonment from one to seven years and payment of a monetary penalty equivalent to the amount received.
3- The crime of destroying national lands
Another crime of national land is the crime of destruction. Since forests and pastures are considered as national assets and their role in the economy and providing many of the country’s needs is undeniable, the legislator has made every effort to prevent any actions that cause irreparable damage to nature by enacting laws. and national lands, to prevent. One of these cases mentioned in the law is the crime of destroying national lands and setting fire. Article 42 of the Law on the Protection and Exploitation of Forests and Ranges provides for the destruction of forests: “Provision of wood, firewood, and coal, and cutting and uprooting of trees and saplings in nationalized and state-owned resources, as well as in forest stands without written consent. The Forestry Organization is prohibited. Such products will be confiscated for the benefit of the forestry organization, and the violator will be fined from 100 to 1000 Rials for each tree or each cubic meter of firewood or coal and will be sentenced to disciplinary imprisonment of up to six months. Also, Article 43 of the aforementioned law states: “Cutting and uprooting desert, desert and mountain bushes, thorns, and shrubs in desert and desert areas is prohibited, and the violator is sentenced to solitary confinement for up to ten days or a fine of up to 201 Rials. In case of repetition, he will be sentenced to both punishments. This is in the case that according to the note of the above article, if the said actions are for the purpose of cultivation, planting trees and creating windbreaks or wooded or non-wooded pastures, as well as to provide other needs of the residents, with the permission of the forestry organization and according to the conditions determined by the said organization. It is allowed.
Article 45 of the aforementioned law refers to unintentionally committing the crime of inciting forest and financial lands. This article stipulates: “It is forbidden to set fire to plants in fields and gardens inside or adjacent to the forest without the permission and supervision of forestry officials; If a fire is caused in the forest as a result of recklessness, the perpetrator will be sentenced to disciplinary imprisonment from two months to one year. Also, Article 47 of the aforementioned law refers to the intentional commission of the aforementioned crime. This article declares. “Anyone who deliberately causes a fire in the forest will be sentenced to solitary confinement from three to ten years, if the perpetrator is a forestry official, he will be sentenced to the maximum punishment mentioned.”
Also, Article 675 of the Islamic Penal Code also refers to the operation of inciting the forest or threshing belonging to another; But it seems that where the forest is subject to public incitement, the provisions of the law on the protection and exploitation of forests and pastures prevail.
4- Unauthorized exploitation of national lands
The use and exploitation of forests and national lands should be done within the legal framework and with the supervision and permission of the Forestry and Ranges Organization. According to what was said before, aggressive occupation, cutting of trees, destruction of pastures and forests, etc. are prohibited. In addition to the illegal exploitation of the forest through the procurement of firewood and wood (from forest trees), its transportation without a transportation permit from the forestry organization is a crime and is considered smuggling.
Another case that falls under the unauthorized use of national lands is unauthorized grazing in nationalized pastures, without a permit or exceeding the capacity specified in the permit. Nationalized pastures are called national lands that are located outside the urban context.
The reason for this criminalization is that forests and pastures are destroyed and irreparable damage is done to this national capital. In this regard, Article 44 of the Law on the Protection and Exploitation of Forests and Ranges stipulates: “Goat grazing in forests and rangelands and areas designated and announced by the Forestry Organization is prohibited, and the violator shall pay compensation from ten to one hundred Rials. He will be condemned for every goat’s head.
In addition to natural resources organizations and departments, persons with exploitation licenses who have suffered losses due to the occurrence of a crime by a third party without a license also have the right to complain.
It is true that there is no special authority in dealing with claims in the field of natural resources and national lands, and the handling of these claims in many cases is subject to the provisions of the criminal procedure, but the legislator has provided special and special facilities and benefits to investigate criminal cases in this field. It has been designed that only people who are experts in this field have full knowledge of them. Not knowing about these facilities and privileges means being deprived of benefiting from them, or it may even result in rejection of the plaintiff’s claim or conviction in it.
One of the problems of the lawsuits in the field of national lands is that the custodian institution is not clear. On the one hand, the Natural Resources Organization, based on Article 10 of the Urban Land Law, considers the Road and Urban Development Department to be in charge of this matter, and on the other hand, the Road and Urban Development Department excuses itself from responsibility with the justification that the land has not been handed over to them yet. They know and refer the responsibility to other organizations. This causes the plaintiff, who is not familiar with the currents and movements of this field, to have difficulty in distinguishing the party to the lawsuit and the responsible institution; While determining the defendant of the lawsuit and the party to the complaint is the primary and fundamental element of the filing of the complaint.
It is important to mention that in lawsuits related to natural resources and national lands, in most cases, the other side of the complaint is the government or government representatives (such as the Natural Resources and Forestry Organization, etc.); Therefore, preparing a complaint or drafting a defense bill in a way that convinces the competent authority to issue a verdict in your favor is very specialized and complex and can only be done by a skilled and experienced lawyer in the fields of natural resources and national lands. In this way, you can get help from the experienced lawyers of Dadista Group to file a complaint in the field of natural resources and national land claims.