गुरुवार, 8 अगस्त 2013

119. Quashing of FIR/Charge Sheet/ Proceedings in Non Compoundable Offences

The supreme court in Gian Singh v . State of Punjab and Anr. along with other connected matters , 2012 AIR SCW 5333 (followed in  Dimpey Gujral v. Union Territory, Chandigarh AIR 2013 SC 518) after considering the relevant provisions of the Cr.P.C. and the decisions of the supreme court concluded (in para 57 of the judgment) as under:-

"The position that emerges from the above discussion can be summarised thus:the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code. Inherent power is of wide plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz ; (i) to secure the ends of justice or (ii ) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court. In what cases power to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint or F.I.R may be exercised where the offender and victim have settled their dispute would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can be prescribed. However, before exercise of such power, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime. Heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim's family and the offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private in nature and have serious impact on society. Similarly, any compromise between the victim and offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity etc; cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences. But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and pre-dominatingly civil flavour stand on different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In this category of cases,High Court may quash criminal proceedings if in its view , because of the compromise between the offender and victim , the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of criminal case would put accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim . In other words , the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding."

118. Disputes relating to ownership and possession

In an action for recovery of possession of immovable property, or for protecting possession thereof, upon the legal title to the property being established, the possession or occupation of the property by a person other than the holder of the legal title will be presumed to have been under and in subordination to the legal title, and it will be for the person resisting a claim for recovery of possession or claiming a right to continue in possession, to establish that he has such a right. To put it differently, wherever pleadings and documents establish title to a particular property and possession is in question, it will be for the person in possession to give sufficiently detailed pleadings, particulars and documents to support his claim in order to continue in possession. It would be imperative that one who claims possession must give the following :
(a) Who is or are the owner or owners of the property;
(b) Title of the property;
(c) Who is in possession of the title documents;
(d) Identity of the claimant or claimants to possession;
(e) The date of entry into possession;
(f) How he came into possession whether he purchased the property or inherited or got the same in gift or by any other method;
(g) In case he purchased the property, what is the consideration; if he has taken it on rent, how much is the rent, license fee or lease amount;
(h) If taken on rent, license fee or lease then insist on rent deed, license deed or lease deed;
(i) Who are the persons in possession/occupation or otherwise living with him, in what capacity; as family members, friends or servants etc.,
(j) Subsequent conduct, i.e., any event which might have extinguished his entitlement to possession or caused shift therein; and
(k) Basis of his claim not to deliver possession but continue in possession.

बुधवार, 9 जून 2010

117. Rule 16 (2) of the Civil Services Examination Rules

A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, in CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4310-4311 OF 2010
[Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.13571-72 of 2008] Union of India V. Ramesh Ram & Ors. etc. had referred to the Constitution Bench an important legal question as to whether candidates belonging to reserved category, who get recommended against general/unreserved vacancies on account of their merit (without the benefit of any relaxation/concession), can opt for a higher choice of service earmarked for Reserved Category and thereby migrate to reservation category?

The Constitution Bench on 07/05/2010 setting aside the decision of Madras High Court held that: "With regard to the specific characteristics of the UPSC examinations we hold that Reserved Category candidates (belonging to OBC, SC or ST categories among others) who are selected on merit and placed in the list of general/ unreserved Category candidates can choose to migrate to the respective reserved categories at the time of allocation of services. Such migration is enabled by Rule 16 (2) of the Civil Services Examination Rules, which is not inconsistent with Rule 16 (1) of the same or even the content of Articles 14, 16 (4) and 335 of the Constitution of India.
The Constitution Bench summarized it’s answer as under:
i) MRC candidates who avail the benefit of Rule 16 (2) and adjusted in the reserved category should be counted as part of the reserved pool for the purpose of computing the aggregate reservation quotas. The seats vacated by MRC candidates in the General Pool will be offered to General category candidates.
ii) By operation of Rule 16 (2), the reserved status of an MRC candidate is protected so that his/ her better performance does not deny him of the chance to be allotted to a more preferred service.
iii) The amended Rule 16 (2) only seeks to recognize the inter se merit between two classes of candidates i.e. a) meritorious reserved category candidates b) relatively lower ranked reserved category candidates, for the purpose of allocation to the various Civil Services with due regard for th preferences indicated by them.
iv) The reserved category candidates "belonging to OBC, SC/ ST categories" who are selected on merit and placed in the list of General/Unreserved category candidates can choose to migrate to the respective reserved category at the time of allocation of services. Such migration as envisaged by Rule 16 (2) is not inconsistent with Rule 16 (1) or Articles 14, 16 (4) and 335 of the Constitution.

मंगलवार, 8 जून 2010

116. MPLAD - held intravires

A Constitution Bench of The Supreme Court in Writ Petition No 21 of 1999, Bhim Singh v. Union of India, decided on 06/05/2010, has held that the MPLAD Scheme is valid and intra vires of the Constitution . The court said that:

1) Owing to the quasi-federal nature of the Constitution and the specific wording of Article 282, both the Union and the State have the power to make grants for a purpose
irrespective of whether the subject matter of the purpose falls in the Seventh Schedule provided that the purpose is "public purpose" within the meaning of the Constitution.

2) The Scheme falls within the meaning of "public purpose" aiming for the fulfillment of the development and welfare of the State as reflected in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

3) Both Articles 275 and 282 are sources of spending funds/monies under the Constitution. Article 282 is normally meant for special, temporary or ad hoc schemes. However, the matter of expenditure for a "public purpose", is subject to fulfillment of the constitutional requirements. The power under Article 282 to sanction grant is not restricted.

4) "Laws" mentioned in Article 282 would also include Appropriation Acts. A specific or special law need not be enacted by the Parliament to resort to the provision. Thus, the MPLAD Scheme is valid as Appropriation Acts have been duly passed year after year.

5) Indian Constitution does not recognize strict separation of powers. The constitutional principle of separation of powers will only be violated if an essential function of one branch is taken over by another branch, leading to a removal of checks and balances.

6) Even though MPs have been given a seemingly executive function, their role is limited to `recommending' works and actual implementation is done by the local authorities.
There is no removal of checks and balances since these are duly provided and have to be strictly adhered to by the guidelines of the Scheme and the Parliament. Therefore, the Scheme does not violate separation of powers.

7) Panchayat Raj Institutions, Municipal as well as local bodies have also not been denuded of their role or jurisdiction by the Scheme as due place has been accorded to them by the guidelines, in the implementation of the Scheme.

8) The court can strike down a law or scheme only on the basis of its vires or unconstitutionality but not on the basis of its viability. When a regime of accountability is available within the Scheme, it is not proper for the Court to strike it down, unless it violates any constitutional principle.

9) In the present Scheme, an accountability regime has been provided. Efforts must be made to make the regime more robust, but in its current form, cannot be struck down as unconstitutional.

10) The Scheme does not result in an unfair advantage to the sitting Members of Parliament and does not amount to a corrupt practice.


सोमवार, 7 जून 2010

115. Compounding of offences u/s 138, NI Act

In CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 963 OF 2010, Damodar S. Prabhu v. Sayed Babalal H., decided on 03/05/2010 , the Supreme Court observed that the interests of justice would indeed be better served if parties resorted to compounding as a method to resolve their disputes at an early stage instead of engaging in protracted litigation before several forums, thereby causing undue delay, expenditure and strain on part of the judicial system. This is clearly a situation that is causing some concern, since Section 147 of the Act does not prescribe as to what stage is appropriate for compounding the offence and whether the same can be done at the instance of the complainant or with the leave of the court.

With regard to the progression of litigation in cheque bouncing cases, the Attorney General requested to the Supreme Court to frame guidelines for a graded scheme of imposing costs on parties who unduly delay compounding of the offence. It was submitted that the requirement of deposit of the costs will act as a deterrent for delayed composition, since at present, free and easy compounding of offences at any stage, however belated, gives an incentive to the drawer of the cheque to delay settling the cases for years. An application for compounding made after several years not only results in the system being burdened but the complainant is also deprived of effective justice. In view of this submission, the Supreme Court directed the following guidelines to be followed:-


(a) That directions can be given that the Writ of Summons be suitably modified making it clear to the accused that he could make an application for compounding of the offences at the first or second hearing of the case and that if such an application is made, compounding may be allowed by the court without imposing any costs on the accused.

(b) If the accused does not make an application for compounding as aforesaid, then if an application for compounding is made before the Magistrate at a subsequent stage, compounding can be allowed subject to the condition that the accused will be required to pay 10% of the cheque amount to be deposited as a condition for compounding with the Legal Services Authority, or such authority as the Court deems fit.

(c) Similarly, if the application for compounding is made before the Sessions Court or a High Court in revision or appeal, such compounding may be allowed on the condition that the accused pays 15% of the cheque amount by way of costs.

(d) Finally, if the application for compounding is made before the Supreme Court, the figure would increase to 20% of the cheque amount.

The supreme Court further directed that :

(e) any costs imposed in accordance with these guidelines should be deposited with the Legal Services Authority operating at the level of the Court before which compounding takes place. For instance, in case of compounding during the pendency of proceedings before Magistrate's Court or a Court of Sessions, such costs should be deposited with the District Legal Services Authority. Likewise, costs imposed in connection with composition before the High Court should be deposited with the State Legal Services Authority and those imposed in connection with composition before the Supreme Court should be deposited with the National Legal Services Authority.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General's suggestions for controlling the filing of multiple complaints that are relatable to the same transaction. It was submitted that complaints are being increasingly filed in multiple jurisdictions in a vexatious manner which causes tremendous harassment and prejudice to the drawers of the cheque. For instance, in the same transaction pertaining to a loan taken on an installment basis to be repaid in equate monthly installments, several cheques are taken which are dated for each monthly installment and upon the dishonor of each of such cheques, different complaints are being filed in different courts which may also have jurisdiction in relation to the complaint. In light of this submission, we direct that it should be mandatory for the complainant to disclose that no other complaint has been filed in any other court in respect of the same transaction. Such a disclosure should be made on a sworn affidavit which should accompany the complaint file under Section 200 of the CrPC. If it is found that such multiple complaints have been filed, orders for transfer of the complaint to the first court should be given, generally speaking, by the High Court after imposing heavy costs on the complainant for resorting to such a practice. These directions should be given effect prospectively.

The court said that, “We are also conscious of the view that the judicial endorsement of the above quoted guidelines could be seen as an act of judicial law-making and therefore an intrusion into the legislative domain. It must be kept in mind that Section 147 of the Act does not carry any guidance on how to proceed with the compounding of offences under the Act. We have already explained that the scheme contemplated under Section 320 of the CrPC cannot be followed in the strict sense. In view of the legislative vacuum, we see no hurdle to the endorsement of some suggestions which have been designed to discourage litigants from unduly delaying the composition of the offence in cases involving Section 138 of the Act. The graded scheme for imposing costs is a means to encourage compounding at an early stage of litigation. In the status quo,valuable time of the Court is spent on the trial of these cases and the parties are not liable to pay any Court fee since the proceedings are governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, even though the impact of the offence is largely confined to the private parties. Even though the imposition of costs by the competent court is a matter of discretion, the scale of costs has been suggested in the interest of uniformity. The competent Court can of course reduce the costs with regard to the specific facts and circumstances of a case, while recording reasons in writing for such variance. Bona fide litigants should of course contest the proceedings to their logical end. Even in the past, this Court has used its power to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution to frame guidelines in relation to subject-matter where there was a legislative vacuum.”

गुरुवार, 22 अप्रैल 2010

114. Restoration of criminal complaints on the line of civil suit

Unlike s. 151 0f C.P.C., the lower courts have no inherent power to pass an order in a situation for which there is no specific provision under Cr.P.C. More over, unlike restoration of a civil suit under order 9 of C.P.C., there is no provision under Cr.P.C. for restoration of a complaint when a criminal complaint is dismissed for default . In this regard The Law Commission of India has recommended for giving powers to the lower criminal courts on the line of powers of civil courts. Recommendation of the Law Commission of India is as under:


1.1 It is a well settled law that a criminal court has no power like the one which a civil court possesses under Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure1908 (CPC) to restore a complaint dismissed in default, as the accused stands discharged or acquitted depending on the case being a warrant-case or a summons-case. In order to get the complaint restored, a complainant, poor or rich, has to knock the door of the High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (CrPC). If a Magistrate has the power to entertain a complaint and decide it on merits after summoning the accused, he should also have power to restore it on good or sufficient cause being shown and re-summon the accused to face the trial on merits.

1.2 The relevant provisions of the CrPC are:

(i) Section 249 relating to warrant-cases -

Absence of complainant.- When the proceedings have been instituted upon complaint, and on any day fixed for the hearing of the case, the complainant is absent and the offence may be lawfully compounded or is not a cognizable offence, the Magistrate may, in his discretion, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, at any time before the charge has been framed, discharge the accused.”

(ii) Section 256 relating to summons-cases -

Non-appearance or death of complainant.- (1) If the summons has been issued on complaint, and on the day appointed for the appearance of the accused, or any day subsequent thereto, to which the hearing may be adjourned, the complainant does not appear, the Magistrate shall, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, acquit the accused, unless for some reason he thinks it proper to adjourn the hearing of the case to some other day:

Provided that where the complainant is represented by a pleader or by the officer conducting the prosecution or where the Magistrate is of opinion that the personal attendance of the complainant is not necessary, the Magistrate may dispense with his attendance and proceed with the case.

(2) The provisions of sub-section (1) shall, so far as may be, apply also to cases where non-appearance of the complainant is due to his death.”

1.3 Section 249 will not apply to a case in which the Magistrate tries an accused for offences that are non-compoundable and cognizable. This section applies only to offences that may be lawfully compounded or are non-cognizable. Therefore, the Magistrate has no discretion to discharge an accused when the offences are of serious nature. Chapter XIX of the CrPC containing the procedure for trial of warrant-cases by Magistrates prescribes two procedures, one for trial of cases instituted on police reports and the other for trial of cases instituted on private complaints. The law-makers have excluded non-compoundable and cognizable offences from the purview of section 249 because for more serious offences, the police, generally, file charge-sheets.

1.4 With regard to offences that are compoundable and non-cognizable where discretion is given to the Magistrate to discharge the accused for the absence of complainant, the Magistrate may be vested with the power to restore the complaint on file if sufficient cause is shown by the complainant for his absence on the date of hearing.

1.5 There may be several reasons for the absence of complainant on the date of hearing. One most important cause may be total bandh call given by the political parties or hartal where transport is suspended completely, both public and private. This is a genuine cause for absence of complainant from appearing before court. Complainant on his way to court may suffer severe setback necessitating hospitalization. He may suffer (a) heartache, (b) high BP, (c) low sugar leading to coma or (d) vertigo, etc. Death of a close relation may be another sufficient cause.

1.6 So in each case if the complainant shows sufficient cause for his absence, the Magistrate may restore his complaint on file. The period may be 15 days or 30 days from the date of discharge of the accused for moving the application.

1.7 With regard to trial of summons-cases, under section 256, the Magistrate shall acquit the accused if the complainant does not appear on the date of hearing. The proviso to section 256 says that where the complainant is represented by a pleader or by the officer conducting the prosecution or where the Magistrate is of the opinion that the personal attendance of the complainant is not necessary, the Magistrate may dispense with his attendance and proceed with the case. Here also there may be sufficient reasons for the absence of complainant, examples of which have been given in the earlier paragraphs. Under section 256, a sub-section may be added to the effect that if the complainant shows sufficient cause for his absence on the date of hearing, the Magistrate may restore the complaint on file provided the application is filed within 15 days or 30 days from the date of acquittal of the accused.

1.8 In the CPC Order IX, Rules 4, 8 and 9 read as under:

(i) Rule 4 -

Plaintiff may bring fresh suit or Court may restore suit to file.-

Where a suit is dismissed under rule 2 or rule 3, the plaintiff may (subject to the law of limitation) bring a fresh suit; or he may apply for an order to set the dismissal aside, and if he satisfies the Court that there was sufficient cause for such failure as is referred to in rule 2, or for his non-appearance, as the case may be, the Court shall make an order setting aside the dismissal and shall appoint a day for proceeding with the suit.”

(ii) Rule 8 -

Procedure where defendant only appears.- Where the defendant

appears and the plaintiff does not appear when the suit is called on for hearing, the Court shall make an order that the suit be dismissed,

unless the defendant admits the claim, or part thereof, in which case the Court shall pass a decree against the defendant upon such admission, and, where part only of the claim has been admitted, shall dismiss the suit so far as it relates to the remainder.”

(iii) Rule 9 -

Decree against plaintiff by default bars fresh suit.- (1) Where a suit is wholly or partly dismissed under rule 8, the plaintiff shall be precluded from bringing a fresh suit in respect of the same cause of action. But he may apply for an order to set the dismissal aside, and if he satisfies the Court that there was sufficient cause for his nonappearance when the suit was called on for hearing, the Court shall make an order setting aside the dismissal upon such terms as to costs or otherwise as it thinks fit and shall appoint a day for proceeding with the suit. … .”

1.9 When provisions have been provided to restore a suit which has been dismissed on the ground of absence of plaintiff, similar provisions need be provided under the CrPC also.

1.10 In the absence of such provisions under sections 249 and 256, the complainants have to move the High Court under criminal revision where the accused has been discharged or in appeal against acquittal where the accused has been acquitted. By adding provisions for restoration of complaints, the burden on the High Courts will be lessened.

Inherent power of subordinate courts

1.11 The subordinate criminal courts have no inherent powers.1 The formula “interest of justice” is not available to the subordinate criminal judiciary beyond the frontiers of the statutory provisions and does not enable entry into the corridor of investigation.2 However, courts exist for dispensation of justice and not for its denial for technical reasons when law and justice otherwise demand. Even though inherent power saved under section 482, CrPC is only in favour of High Courts, the subordinate criminal courts are also not powerless to do what is absolutely necessary for dispensation of justice in the absence of a specific enabling provision provided there is no prohibition and no illegality or miscarriage of justice is involved. All the criminal courts are having such an auxiliary power subject to restriction which justice, equity, good conscience and legal provisions demand provided it will not unnecessarily prejudice somebody else.3 A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has in In the matter of State Prosecutor4 held that the subordinate courts have the inherent power to act ex debito justitiae (in accordance with the requirement of justice) to do the

real and substantial justice for which alone they exist. The absence of any reference to any other criminal court in the said provision does not necessarily imply that such courts can in no circumstances exercise inherent power. Courts may act on the principle that every procedure should be understood as permissible till it is shown to be prohibited by law.

1.12 Section 482 of the CrPC closely resembles Section 151 of the CPC. In order to seek interference under the said section three conditions should be fulfilled: (1) the injustice which comes to light should be of a grave character and not of a trivial character; (2) it should be clear and palpable and not doubtful; and (3) there exists no other provision of law by which the party aggrieved could have sought relief.5

1.13 In Raj Narain v. State6 and In re, Biyamma7, it was held that a High Court can revoke, review, recall or alter its own earlier decision in a criminal revision and rehear the same by virtue of its inherent power reserved under the said section.

1.14 The word ‘process’ is a general word meaning in effect anything done by the court. It includes criminal proceedings in a subordinate court.

Therefore, power should be vested in the subordinate criminal courts to restore the complaint which was dismissed by default with a view to secure justice. Whenever the Magistrate is satisfied that it is necessary in order to secure the ends of justice, he should be able to interfere with his earlier order. The court which has the power to entertain a case and order notice and decide the case on merits should also have the power to correct an obvious error.

1.15 If a court finds that it delivered a judgment without hearing the party who was entitled to be heard himself or through his counsel which was necessary in the interest of justice, the court should be empowered to set aside the judgement and grant rehearing of the matter. It is true that there is no provision in the CrPC to the said effect. Nevertheless, in the interest of justice and the independence of the Judiciary, judges and magistrates should be at full liberty to discuss the conduct of persons before them either as parties or as witnesses. While exercising this power, courts should bear in mind that no person should be condemned without being heard.

1.16 However, the Supreme Court in A. S. Gauraya v. S. N. Thakur8

specifically ruled that the CrPC does not contain any provision enabling a Magistrate to exercise inherent power to restore a complaint by revoking his earlier order dismissing it for the non-appearance of the complainant.


2.1 The 12th Law Commission of India in its 141st Report titled “Need for Amending the Law as regards Power of Courts to Restore Criminal Revisional Applications and Criminal Cases Dismissed for Default in Appearance” [1991] recommended, inter alia, amendment of section 256 of the CrPC enabling restoration of a criminal case wherein the accused has been acquitted for non-appearance of the complainant where there was sufficient cause for the non-appearance. A meritorious complaint cannot be allowed to be thwarted only on the ground that the complainant was unable to remain present, even though there existed good and sufficient cause for such absence.

2.2 The Law Commission in its aforesaid Report further recommended amendment of section 482 of the CrPC for conferment of inherent powers also on all subordinate criminal courts other than the High Court.


3. In the light of above, the Law Commission has recommended appropriate amendments in sections 249 and 256 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 inserting provisions on the lines of Order IX of the CPC, enabling restoration of complaints.


1 Tulsamma v. Jagannath, 2004 Cri. L. J. 4272

2 State of Kerala v. Vijayan, 1985(1) CRIMES 261

3 Madhavi v. Thupran, 1987 (1) KLT 488

4 1973 Cri. L. J. 1288

5 Ram Narain v. Mool Chand, AIR 1960 All. 296; Janata Dal v. H. S. Chowdhary, AIR 1993 SC 892

6 AIR 1959 All. 315 (FB)

7 AIR 1963 Mysore 326

8 (1986) 2 SCC 709

मंगलवार, 20 अप्रैल 2010

113. Disposal of seazed vehicles

In Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai (2002) 10 SCC 283, the Supreme Court while quoting the provisions Sections 451 and 457 of the Cr.PC, observed in para 7 as under:-

"7. In our view, the powers under Section 451 Cr PC should be exercised

expeditiously and judiciously. It would serve various purposes, namely:

1. owner of the article would not suffer because of its

remaining unused or by its misappropriation;

2. court or the police would not be required to keep the

article in safe custody;

3. if the proper panchnama before handing over possession of the article is prepared, that can be used in evidence instead of its production before the court during the trial. If necessary, evidence could also be recorded describing the nature of the property in detail; and

4. this jurisdiction of the court to record evidence should be exercised promptly so that there may not be further chance of tampering with the articles."

To safeguard the interests of the prosecution, it was directed that following measures should be adopted giving instances contained in para 12 reproduced hereinbelow:

"12 For this purpose, if material on record indicates that such articles belong to the complainant at whose house theft, robbery or dacoity has taken

place, then seized articles be handed over to the complainant after:

(1) preparing detailed proper panchnama of such articles;

(2) taking photographs of such articles and a bond that such articles would be produced if required at the time of trial; and

(3) after taking proper security."

While dealing with the seized vehicles from time to time by the police either in commission of various offences or abandoned vehicles or vehicles which are recovered during investigation of complaint of thefts, the court observed as


"17. In our view, whatever be the situation, it is of no use to keep such seized vehicles at the police stations for a long period. It is for the Magistrate to pass appropriate orders immediately by taking appropriate bond and guarantee as well as security for return of the said vehicles, if required at any point of time. This can be done pending hearing of applications for return of such vehicles.

18. In case where the vehicle is not claimed by the accused, owner, or the insurance company or by a third person, then such vehicle may be ordered to be auctioned by the court. If the said vehicle is insured with the insurance company then the insurance company be informed by the court to take possession of the vehicle which is not claimed by the owner or a third person. If the insurance company fails to take possession, the vehicles may be sold as per the direction of the court. The court would pass such order within a period of six months from the date of production of the said vehicle before the court. In any case, before handing over possession of such vehicles, appropriate photographs of the said vehicle should be taken and detailed panchnama should be prepared."

In General Insurance Council & Ors. V. State of Andhra Pradesh & orsdecided on 19/04/2010, Considering the mandate of Section 451 read with Section 457 of the Code, the Supreme Court in addition to aforesaid directions, gave following further directions with regard to seized vehicles are required to be given.

"(A) Insurer may be permitted to move a separate application for release of the recovered vehicle as soon as it is informed of such recovery before the Jurisdictional Court. Ordinarily, release shall be made within a period of 30 days from the date of the application. The necessary photographs may be taken duly authenticated and certified, and a detailed panchnama may be prepared before such release.

(B) The photographs so taken may be used as secondary evidence during trial. Hence, physical production of the vehicle may be dispensed with.

(C) Insurer would submit an undertaking/guarantee to remit the proceeds from the sale/auction of the vehicle conducted by the Insurance Company in the event that the Magistrate finally adjudicates that the rightful ownership of the vehicle does not vest with the insurer. The undertaking/guarantee would be furnished at the time of release of the vehicle, pursuant to the application release of the recovered vehicle. Insistence on personal bonds may be

dispensed with looking to the corporate structure of the insurer."