In Case of Illegal Excavation/ Transportation in Prohibited Areas, Person Will Be Penalized: Andhra Pradesh High Court 

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EXCERPT

A single-judge bench consisting of Honorable Justice Battu Devananda gave orders on the Writ Petition no. 9604 of 2021. The Writ was filed under article 226 of the constitution seeking to issue Writ of Mandamus against the actions of the Respondents in seizing the lorry in connection with the crime no. 232 of 2021, as unjust, illegal, arbitrary. Further, it is also offending articles 14,19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. 

FACTS 

In this case, the Petitioner is the owner of the lorry. He was engaged in the goods carrying transport of business and it was the only source of income. The vehicle of the Petitioner which was the only source of livelihood was seized by the Respondents alleging that the vehicle was engaged in illegal transportation of sand without any valid permit and registered a case against him. From that day onwards the same vehicle was under the custody of the police station. Challenging the order of seizure which was passed by the Respondents, the Petitioner filed a Writ Petition before the court seeking the issuance of Writ of Mandamus to the Respondents declaring their actions as illegal, arbitrary and unjust and also against the articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. Further, he sought to issue directions to the Respondents to release the said lorry in favor of the Petitioner and passed an order which deemed fit and proper according to the law. 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED 

The learned counsel appearing for the Petitioner submitted before the court that the Respondents seized the vehicle of the Petitioner without any proper reason. The vehicle is the sole source of earning livelihood for the Petitioner and seizure of the same deprives him of earning a proper livelihood. 

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The learned Government pleader of mines and geology appearing for Respondent no. 1 and 2 and learned government home pleader appearing for the 3rd respondent submitted before the court that the Petitioner was engaged in illicit transportation of sand without any permit. So, the case was registered against him and the seizure of the vehicle was necessary for further investigation. 

COURT’S ANALYSIS

The court after hearing the submissions of both counsels is of the opinion that it is appropriate to consider the relevant clause 16 of G.O.Ms. No. 71 Industries, Infrastructure, Investment and Commerce Department. It was clear that the transportation of the sand was without any valid sand bill published by the concerned officer. Therefore, the authorities can impose a penalty according to the relevant clause of the G.O.Ms. Further, a penalty was imposed on the Respondents for keeping the vehicle in the police station, which caused damage to the vehicle due to exposure to sun and rain as according to the court it is illegal and unjust. 

COURT’S DECISION

The court allowed the Writ Petition directing the Respondents to impose penalty in terms of clause 16 of G.O.Ms. NO. 71 Industries, Infrastructure, Investment and Commerce Department and on payment of this penalty the Respondents were directed to release the seized vehicle to the Petitioner. Any application pending shall stand closed and no orders as to cost. 

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