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Can High Court Order Release Of Vehicle Seized By Police Authorities Under Rajasthan Police Act? Supreme Court To Consider

Shruti Kakkar
15 Jan 2022 1:55 PM GMT
Can High Court Order Release Of Vehicle Seized By Police Authorities Under Rajasthan Police Act? Supreme Court To Consider
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The Supreme Court recently agreed to consider whether the High Court can order release of vehicles seized by the police when the matter was not pending in any court.The bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BV Nagarathna agreed to examine while issuing notice in the SLP assailing Rajasthan High Court's order dated December 16, 2020.While issuing notice, the bench also stayed the release of...

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The Supreme Court recently agreed to consider whether the High Court can order release of vehicles seized by the police when the matter was not pending in any court.

The bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BV Nagarathna agreed to examine while issuing notice in the SLP assailing Rajasthan High Court's order dated December 16, 2020.

While issuing notice, the bench also stayed the release of the vehicle, if not already released.

The petitioner's Counsel submitted that the police had seized an unclaimed tractor and trolley loaded with bajri and that the release of the vehicle could only have been ordered by the police authorities. It was also counsel's contention that the respondent approached the Trial Court for release of the vehicle, which application was however rejected but the respondent's petition u/s 482 was allowed by the High Court and directions were issued for releasing the vehicle on certain conditions.

Further it was also argued that the jurisdiction of the High Court could not be there when the matter was not pending in any Court and the release of the vehicle was subject matter of the police authorities and not of the Court.

Case Before Rajasthan High Court

The respondent ("Ram Nath") had approached the High Court u/s 482 CrPC and contended that the police seized the vehicle(s) mentioning it to be under Section 38 of the Rajasthan Police Act, 2007 treating it as unclaimed property.

It was also his contention that the petitioner was a registered owner of the vehicle(s) and therefore, the proceedings under Section 38 of the Act could not have been undertaken. He further contended that even if the same was undertaken; once, the learned Magistrate had come to knowledge that the vehicle was duly registered and the registered owner was before it for claiming the same, there was no occasion for not releasing the said vehicle.

The bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma while setting aside Magistrate's order of refusing to order release of vehicle had observed that,

"Thus, it is at the stage when the vehicle(s) is seized, that property may be treated as unclaimed property. However, once an application has been filed before the Court informing about the vehicle being an unregistered ownership of the claimant and he claims the said property, the provisions of Section 38 of the Act would automatically cease to apply and the learned Magistrate could not have avoided the provisions of Section 457 Cr.P.C. for release of the vehicle(s). Thus, the order(s) impugned herein passed by the learned Magistrate to the said effect is wholly misconceived the provisions aforesaid and is accordingly set aside."

Case Title: State of Rajasthan v. Ram Nath| Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s).131/2022

Coram: Justices Vineet Saran and BV Nagarathna

Click Here To Read/Download High Court Order

Click Here To Read/Download Supreme Court Order



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