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Confiscated items to be released if the proceedings are not initiated within 90 days. – Patna High Court.

On a matter dealing with the Bihar Prohibition and excise act, 2016, the Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. Kumar decreed that, “We further direct that all proceedings under Section 58 must positively be initiated/concluded within a period of ninety days from the date of appearance of the parties. Further, Appeal/Revision, if any, be also decided within a period of thirty days from the date of initiation, failing which the “things” (vehicle/property/ etc.) shall be deemed to have been released in terms of several orders passed by this Court”, in the case Ramuday Sahani Vs. The State of Bihar through the Principal Secretary, Excise Dept. [Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.7437 of 2021].

 

The petitioner has filed this petition to get his bike released which was seized. Section 56 of the act states down the procedure for confiscation of items used while executing an offence. The court has relied on Vishal Kumar Versus the State of Bihar & Anr [CWJC No.6148 of 2020], wherein it was held that, “In the aforesaid decisions, we have already laid down the time-schedule within which all proceedings are necessarily required to be concluded and the outer limit is three months from the date on which this Court has directed the party to make himself available before the appropriate authority.

We clarify that petitioner undertakes to fully cooperate in the proceedings and we further clarify that in case the authorities are not able to conclude the proceedings within the time bound period, the vehicle/property shall be allowed to be released on such conditions as the appropriate authority may deem fit and proper”.

Furthermore, the court in this case mentioned that the statutory limitation period would not be a road blocker if the parties wanted to initiate proceedings in the next thirty days. The judges disposed the petition directing the appropriate authorities to take action within the stipulated time failing which the property must be released.

Click here to read the judgement.

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