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'Every Wrong Has Remedy': Chhattisgarh HC Exercises Supervisory Jurisdiction, Grants Interim Custody Of Vehicle Transporting Illicit Liquor To Owner

Zeb Hasan
5 May 2022 6:45 AM GMT
Every Wrong Has Remedy: Chhattisgarh HC Exercises Supervisory Jurisdiction, Grants Interim Custody Of Vehicle Transporting Illicit Liquor To Owner
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The Chhattisgarh High Court recently made it clear that even though interim orders passed during confiscation proceedings under the State Excise Act, 1915, are not appellable, the High Court in exercise of its power vested in it under Article 227 can always test the propriety or legality of such orders.Section 47-B of the Act provides for appeal against the order of confiscation. Therefore,...

The Chhattisgarh High Court recently made it clear that even though interim orders passed during confiscation proceedings under the State Excise Act, 1915, are not appellable, the High Court in exercise of its power vested in it under Article 227 can always test the propriety or legality of such orders.

Section 47-B of the Act provides for appeal against the order of confiscation. Therefore, it necessarily leads that order of confiscation can only be challenged when it reaches its finality and the statute do not give any space to challenge any other order except the final one.

In view of this, Justice Goutam Bhaduri observed,

"the necessary implication would be that any order of interim nature if any passed, the High Court in exercise of it's power vested in it under Article 227 can always test the propriety or legality of the order. It is a settled proposition of jurisprudence that every wrong will have a remedy. So if the order is found to be wrong then certainly the High Court would have all the power to correct the same."

The observation was made while allowing a challenge to order passed by the Collector, Durg whereby the interim custody of the vehicle sought for by the petitioner, owner of the vehicle that was seized for transporting illicit liquor, was rejected.

"The order dated 25.11.2020 under challenge would show that no reasons have been assigned for rejection and only it is stated that since vehicle was found in transporting illicit liquor as such it is not feasible to hand over the vehicle to the petitioner. So for all practical purposes vehicle is lying at the disposal of authorities or at police station. Therefore if it is kept in the police station it must be occupying space or is prone to cause natural decay and may loose its road worthiness when kept in stationery position."

The vehicle of the petitioner was intercepted and from the vehicle illicit liquor to the extent of 34.54 bulk liters were seized. Therefore, the case was registered under Section 34(2) of the Chhattisgarh Excise Act and the liquor as also the vehicle was seized by the police.

State alleged that the vehicle was being used for transporting illicit liquor as such proceeding under Section 47-A(3) of the Act was drawn for confiscation of vehicle. Further the Collector, who is authorised under Section 47-A(3) started confiscation proceeding for the vehicle. During such confiscation proceeding, an application was filed by the petitioner who is owner of the vehicle to release the vehicle and interim custody of the vehicle was sought for, which was dismissed.

Therefore, petitioner moved High Court.

Petitioner submitted that confiscation proceeding though having been commenced it does not put any bar to release the vehicles on interim custody. He placed reliance upon the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai Vs. State of Gujarat reported and submitted that applying such principle till confiscation proceeding is concluded, the vehicle should have been handed over to the applicant.

It was submitted that no necessary useful purpose would be served by keeping the vehicle in the custody except the loss caused to it. It was further submitted that charge sheet having been filed no further enquiry is necessary in respect of criminal case and as such vehicle should have been released in favour of applicant.

The Court Court placed reliance on a judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in General Insurance Council and others Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and others wherein it was reiterated that the order of rejection of application for interim custody cannot be allowed to remain. Consequently, applying the said principles, it is directed that the vehicle be released in favour of petitioner by way of interim measure, if the confiscation proceedings have not been concluded till date of production of this order.

The court directed to be released to the petitioner on the following conditions:-

"1. Before release of vehicle proper panchnama be prepared.

2. Photographs of vehicle should be taken and bond should also be produced that the article would be produced if required at the time of trial.

3. Proper security i.e. personal bond of Rs.8.00 lacs and like sum of surety be obtained before release of vehicle."

The plea was accordingly disposed of.

Case Title: Shyam Bihari Yadav v. State Of Chhattisgarh and Anr.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Chh) 41

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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