Gujarat HC Pursues the Case of Confiscation of Vehicle, Directs Police Authority to Release the Vehicle

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The Gujarat High Court directed in light of the facts of the case Pareshkumar Jivaji Thakor Versus State Of Gujarat that, the respondent ought to be directed to release the vehicle. Hence, the application is allowed.

Background

The applicant’s vehicle had been seized by the police authority at Jadar Police Station, Sabarkantha. So, the applicant had filed an application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and Section 482 of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. By way of this application, the applicant had also prayed to direct respondent no.2 to release the muddamal vehicle involved in this case, i.e. Honda City Car, of which applicant was the owner. 

It had been averred in the application that the applicant wasn’t the accused in this offence and only the owner of the vehicle seized. Moreover, considering the provisions of the Prohibition Act in connection with which the vehicle had been ceased, it was averred by the applicant that the application may be allowed.

Submissions before the Court

Applicant’s Submissions

The counsel for the applicant had also submitted the same facts as were mentioned in the memo of the application filed by the applicant. Stated that the High Court had wide powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India which empowers them to issue, to any person or authority, various directions, orders or writs. The learned Advocate for the applicant had also prayed to allow the present application and direct respondent to release the vehicle.

It was also contended that the case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 2003 SC 638 could be taken into account. It being the case, where the Apex Court lamented the poor scenario of several numbers of unattended vehicles and those becoming junk day by day. 

Respondent’s Submissions

Learned APP for the respondent, had strongly opposed to allow the present application. She asserted that the application may not be entertained, in view of the provisions under Section 98 of the Prohibition Act, which state that the vehicle used in any crime, is liable to be confiscated.

Learned APP further contended that if the present application would be allowed, then the vehicle may be used to commit another offence.

Court’s Observations

Having considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for both the sides and taking into account various facts of the applicant’s vehicle seized by the police authority, the Court made several observations. The Court clarified that it had been revealed from the materials on record, that applicant was the owner of the said vehicle but wasn’t involved in the crime committed. 

The Court had referred to mainly three provisions of the Prohibition Act- Sections 98, 100 and 132. These provisions provided for confiscation. But the Court was of the considered opinion that the facts of the present case showed that granting of custody of the vehicle to the applicant won’t cause any prejudice to the prosecution.

The Court observed that similar issues had been adjudicated by the Court which shall be referred to. So, the Court had considered varied principles laid down by the Apex Court in Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 2003 SC 638. The Court also admitted that a vehicle if kept unused, becomes useless. 

Court’s Directions

The order was pronounced by the Single- Judge Bench comprising of Dr. Justice A.P. Thaker. In light of the submissions put forth by both parties, the application was allowed. The Court directed the police authority to release the vehicle of the applicant. 

Moreover, it was allowed subject to terms and conditions on the applicant. The vehicle had to be returned only when the applicant would furnish, by way of security Rs. 1,50,000/-. Further, it was directed that in event of any subsequent offence, the vehicle shall be confiscated.

The Court had also directed that before giving the custody of the vehicle to the applicant, a detailed panchnama shall be drawn and necessary photos must be taken.


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