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VEHICLE/PROPERTY- TO BE CONFISCATED ONLY IF LIQOUR OR ANY INTOXICANT SUBSTANCE IS PRESENT IN THE PREMISES : PATNA HIGH COURT

The Court has continued to direct the State to provisionally release vehicle/property in cases of drunken driving; no recovery from the vehicle; recovery of less than commercial quantity; ex-facie, the vehicle is not liable to be confiscated; ex-facie, the vehicle is not liable to be confiscated; ex-facie, the vehicle is not liable to be confiscated; ex-facie, the vehicle is not liable to be confiscated, said Justice S.Kumar of Patna High Court. In the matter of Pankaj Yadav vs. State of UP  [ Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.6873 of 2021]”

The order was issued in response to the petition filed for the release of a truck in favour of the petitioner which was seized in connection to Section 13, Section 30 (a), Section 56 of Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016.” Learned counsel for the petitioner prays that the petition is disposed of in terms of order dated 9th January 2020 passed titled as Md. Shaukat Ali Vs. The State of Bihar”

The Learned Counsel had no objection to section 13 but to Section 56 which reads : 

“56. Things are liable for confiscation.- Whenever an offence has been committed, which is punishable under this Act, the following things shall be liable to confiscation, namely- 

(a) Any intoxicant, liquor, material, still, utensil, implement, apparatus in respect of or by means of which such offence has been committed; 

(b) any intoxicant or liquor unlawfully imported, transported, manufactured, sold or brought along with or in addition to, any intoxicant, liable to confiscation under clause (a); 

(c) any receptacle, package, or covering in which anything liable to confiscation under clause (a) or clause (b), is found, and the other contents, if any, of such receptacle, package or covering; 

(d) any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used for carrying the same. 

(e) Any premises or part thereof that may have been used for storing or manufacturing any liquor or intoxicant or for committing any other offence under this Act.” 

As the vehicle that has been confiscated did not have any traces of intoxicant, liquor or such material inside it.

Therefore, as a result, the petitioner is granted the right to file an appropriate petition before the learned Special Judge, Excise, for the prosecution of the concerned police official.  In terms of compensation, obviously, going through the material on record, there was no recovery of liquor from the vehicle and it was a case in which the occupants of the vehicle were alleged to be in a drunken state and Patna High Court was creating a nuisance, though they were liable to be arrested. In any case, the vehicle was not required to be seized because it was not subject to confiscation.

It was held by the court that to also direct the appropriate authority to conclude the confiscation proceeding positively within thirty days of the petitioner’s appearance. If for whatever reason, such proceeding cannot be completed, the authority shall be free to take any legal measures necessary to release the vehicle.

Further, the court quoted “We only hope and expect that the Authorities under the Act shall take appropriate action at the earliest and in accordance with the law, within the time schedule fixed, failing which the vehicle/property/things liable for confiscation shall be deemed to have been released without any further reference to this Court.”

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