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It is of no use to keep such seized vehicles at the police stations for a long period: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

The only purpose for releasing of the vehicle is to ensure that the vehicle remains, roadworthy otherwise, if the same is allowed to remain in police custody, the same shall lose its utility as upheld by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K, while referring to a judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v State of Gujarat, (2002) 10 SCC 283, through a learned bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal in the case of Gurnam Singh Vs UT of J&K [CRM (M) No. 715/2021].

The present petition was filed by the petitioner under section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the order dated 04.10.2021 passed by the learned Principal Sessions Judge, Udhampur (hereinafter to be referred as the trial court) to the extent of imposing condition of furnishing bank guarantee of Rs. 1,00,000/- for release of vehicle (Truck) bearing registration number PB11AD-3405.

It was stated that the petitioner is the registered owner of the vehicle in question and a false and frivolous FIR bearing No. 287/2021 under sections 8/15 of the NDPS Act was registered, as the truck in question was used for illegally carrying/transporting of contraband (poppy straw) weighing 12.650 kgs. It was further submitted that the truck in question is the only source of income of the petitioner and being a poor man it is quite impossible for him to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs. 1,00,000/-.

It was further stated that the petitioner is the registered owner of the said vehicle and had approached the trial court for release of the same. The learned trial court vide order dated 04.10.2021 (supra) directed release of the truck bearing No. PB11AD-3405 on supurdnama of the registered owner, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions and one of the conditions being that “he shall furnish a bank guarantee to the tune of Rs. one lac for due compliance of these conditions.”. The petitioner through the medium of present petition has assailed order dated 04.10.2021 primarily on the ground that the aforesaid condition imposed by the learned trial court is not justifiable.

After hearing both the parties, the Hon’ble High Court stated that “The only purpose for releasing of the vehicle is to ensure that the vehicle remains, roadworthy otherwise, if the same is allowed to remain in police custody, the same shall lose its utility. The condition of imposing bank guarantee by the learned trial court is harsh, when other conditions have already been imposed by the trial court. So this Court is of the considered view that the said condition is required to be modified and the petitioner shall furnish two sureties of Rs. 50,000/- each.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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