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Seized Vehicle Should Be Handled Within 6 Months From Date Of Production Of Vehicle Before Court; Should Not Be Kept In Police Stations For Long: Gujarat HC

PRIYANKA PREET
20 April 2022 4:35 AM GMT
Seized Vehicle Should Be Handled Within 6 Months From Date Of Production Of Vehicle Before Court; Should Not Be Kept In Police Stations For Long: Gujarat HC
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The Gujarat High Court while making note of the Apex Court's decision in SUNDERBHAI AMBALAL DESAI VS. STATE OF GUJARAT has affirmed that within a period of six months from the date of production of vehicle before the Court, the seized vehicle should be disposed of appropriately and not be kept at police stations for a long time. Further, if the vehicle is not claimed by the...

The Gujarat High Court while making note of the Apex Court's decision in SUNDERBHAI AMBALAL DESAI VS. STATE OF GUJARAT has affirmed that within a period of six months from the date of production of vehicle before the Court, the seized vehicle should be disposed of appropriately and not be kept at police stations for a long time. Further, if the vehicle is not claimed by the Accused, then the insurance company or third person can auction it under the direction of the Court.

The Bench comprising Justice Ilesh J Vora made these observations while hearing a petition invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Art 226 and the supervisory jurisdiction under Art 227 along with the inherent powers of the Court under Section 482 of CrPC for the release of the Muddamal Vehicle.

It was averred that the police personnel while on patrol received secret information that the impugned vehicle was carrying liquor. Hence, the authorities intercepted the same and carried out a search of the vehicle. The driver was found carrying liquor without pass or permit and thereafter an FIR was filed for the offence under the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 2017.

The Petitioner while relying on Sunderbhai urged the High Court to release the vehicle since it would be kept unattended and become junk within the station premises. Per contra, the APP relied on ANILKUMAR RAMLAL @ RAMANLALJI MEHTA VS. STATE OF GUJARAT and PARESHKUMAR JAYKARBHAI BRAHMBHATT VS. STATE OF GUJARAT to contend that the powers of the Magistrate to order interim release of seized vehicles under Section 98(2) of the Act have been curtailed. The Courts below, therefore, have no jurisdiction to order the release of vehicle, particularly, where the quantity of liquor exceeds 10 litres.

The Bench while relying on Sunderbhai ventured forth to explain that the seized vehicle which is not claimed by the owner or third person should be taken over by the insurance company. However, if the company fails to take possession, the Court may order its sale. Such an order should be passed within six months from the date of production of the said vehicle before the Court. Further, before handing over the possession of such vehicles, appropriate pictures must be taken. The Apex Court must also see that powers under Section 451 of the Code are properly exercised.

Accordingly, the application was allowed with the direction that the Petitioner furnish a solvent surety of the amount equivalent to the value of the vehicle in question. Further, he should file an undertaking that prior to alienation or transfer of vehicle, he will inform the Court and shall produce the vehicle as and when directed by the trial court. Lastly, before handing over possession to the Petitioner, necessary photographs will be taken and a detailed panchnama will be drawn for the purpose of the trial.

Case Title: RAMESHBHAI DHULABHAI KATARA Versus STATE OF GUJARAT

Case No.: R/SCR.A/3778/2022

Citation:

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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