Read Order: Parveen Kumar v. State Of Haryana

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, March 23, 2022: Considering the fact that if the petitioner’s car, seized after being intercepted by the Police for carrying the narcotic substance, was retained and kept idle in the police station, then it would likely to be converted into junk, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the release of the said car on sapurdari under Section 451 of the Cr.P.C

While granting the relief sought, the Bench of Justice Sant Parkash held, “[Car is] ordered to be released on sapurdari to the petitioner… on the conditions (i) that he will preserve the said car in the same condition during the pendency of the trial; (ii) that he will not dispose of the same during the pendency of the trial; (iii) that he will produce the same in the trial Court as and when so ordered by the trial Court (iv) that he will not use or allow any person to use the car in question for commission of any offence including offence under the NDPS Act and (v) that he will deposit the market price of the car in question at the time of its seizure as determinable under the Income Tax/Act Rules in case of passing of order for its confiscation under Section 60 of the NDPS Act.”

The petitioner filed the present petition under Section 397 read with Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing/setting aside the order of the Special Judge (NDPS Act), Kaithal in case FIR registered under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (the NDPS Act) whereby the application for release of a car on Sapurdari was dismissed.

As per the prosecution version, the petitioner was driving a white Ford Eco Sports Car and one Aakash was sitting as co-passenger along with him. The police party on the basis of secret information intercepted them and on the search of the car, contraband in a polythene bag was recovered underneath the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The above-said FIR was registered and the contraband, as well as the aforesaid car, were taken into possession by the police.

The petitioner, being registered owner of the car, filed an application for its release on Sapurdari which was dismissed by learned Special Judge (NDPS Act) on the grounds that the petitioner himself was arrested while travelling in the said vehicle with contraband being recovered under the seat of his vehicle. Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner filed the present revision petition for quashing/setting aside the above-said order.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that the car can be confiscated only after affording an opportunity of being heard was granted to the petitioner and that there was no provision under the NDPS Act debarring the release of the vehicle on sapurdari. Lastly, the Counsel stated that the impugned order suffers from material illegality and therefore, it the petition be allowed. 

On the other hand, the State Counsel argued that  the vehicle, if released on sapurdari, may be used as conveyance for carrying narcotic substances. The said vehicle was also involved in another case registered under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 IPC, added the Counsel. 

The Bench made reference to the judgment this Court in Gurbinder Singh @ Shinder Vs. State of Punjab, 2016 (4) RCR (Crl.) 492, wherein it was held that the vehicle used for transporting the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances can also be released on sapurdari by invoking the provision under Section 451 of the Cr.P.C. 

Coming to the fact sheet of this case, the Court noted that if the car in question is retained on the ground of being case property liable to confiscation and kept idle in the police station, then the same is likely to be converted into junk. The Court also added that any public auction of the car in question is not only likely to take a long time but may also not fetch an amount higher than the reserved price and also, the Court added that passing of final order for confiscation of the car in question may also take such long time that the car in question may become wholly unserviceable, complete junk and of no use for being taken over by the state on such confiscation. 

In these facts and circumstances, the Court found it appropriate that the car is released on sapurdari to the registered owner on additional conditions, besides usual terms and conditions that the registered owner will not use or allow any person to use the car in question for the commission of any offence including offence under the NDPS Act and that he will deposit the market price of the car in question as determinable under the Income Tax Act/Rules in case of passing of order for its confiscation under Section 60 of the NDPS Act.

In view of the above discussion, the present revision petition was allowed and the car in dispute was ordered to be released on sapurdari to the petitioner being its registered owner on furnishing sapurdginama to the satisfaction of Special Judge (NDPS Act), Kaithal on the aforementioned conditions.

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