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S.451 CrPC: Karnataka High Court Says Gold Ornaments Seized Can Be Kept In Custody For Maximum 1 Month

Mustafa Plumber
15 Sep 2022 10:00 AM GMT
S.451 CrPC: Karnataka High Court Says Gold Ornaments Seized Can Be Kept In Custody For Maximum 1 Month
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The Karnataka High Court has said that if gold bullion or gold ornaments are seized during the investigation of an offence, the maximum period that it could be held is 15 days or one month and later, it should be released and interim custody should be handed over to the victim/complainant/applicant. A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by M/S...

The Karnataka High Court has said that if gold bullion or gold ornaments are seized during the investigation of an offence, the maximum period that it could be held is 15 days or one month and later, it should be released and interim custody should be handed over to the victim/complainant/applicant.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by M/S Namboor Jewellers and directed handing over of interim custody of the gold seized by the police.

The petitioner had approached the trial court by filing an application under Sections 451 and 457 of CrPC, seeking interim custody of gold bullion seized in a case registered against one Hameed Ali for offences punishable under Sections 406 and 420 IPC. In the said crime, during the course of the investigation, the police had recovered half kilogram of gold from the shop of the petitioner.

The applicant claimed to be the victim in the complaint. It was contended that the petitioner being the victim is entitled to in law for an interim custody of the seized gold bullion, which even in terms of the investigation belongs to the petitioner. The reason rendered by the learned Magistrate to decline the application particularly, insofar as it concerns the gold bullion of the petitioner, was erroneous and runs counter to the judgment rendered by the Apex Court in the case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai V. State Of Gujarat, (2002) 10 SCC 283.

The prosecution admitted that the gold belongs to the petitioner but argued that it cannot be released till the trial proceedings are completed and would seek dismissal of the petition.

Findings:

The bench referred to the Apex court judgment relied by the petition in which it was held that

"With regard to valuable articles, such as, golden or silver ornaments or articles studded with precious stones, it is submitted that it is of no use to keep such articles in police custody for years till the trial is over. In our view, this submission requires acceptance. In such cases, the Magistrate should pass appropriate orders as contemplated under Section 451 CrPC at the earliest."

Following which the court said, "If the order passed by the learned Magistrate is considered on the bedrock of principles laid down by the Apex Court in the aforesaid judgment, it would on the face of it, run foul, as the Court holds that there are no sufficient grounds made out by the petitioner for interim custody of the gold bullion."

Accordingly it allowed the petition and directed that the prosecution shall prepare detailed and proper panchanama of such articles; take photographs of such articles, and a bond that such articles would be produced, if required at the time of trial; proper and adequate security shall be taken by the Investigating Officer, before handing over the articles.

Case Title: M/S NAMBOOR JEWELLERS v. STATE BY LASHKAR POLICE STATION

Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 7105 OF 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 364

Date of Order: 2ND DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2022

Appearance: Advocate PRASHANTH P.N for petitioner; HCGP K.S.ABHIJITH for respondent

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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