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Court dismisses the criminal appeal filed under section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the order of the Sessions Court: Karnataka High Court

The criminal appeal is filed under section 482 of CR.P.C ( speaks about High court can’t pass adverse order or observations against third party) praying to quash the order which was passed by Additional and session judge for illegally transporting alcohol from one state to another. But the petition was dismissed by the High court of Karnataka through the learned bench led by the Honourable MR. K Natrajan in the case Madhu transport company vs the authority officer ( criminal petition no. 2382 of 2022) on 20th December 2022.

Facts of the case are that the Excise Department has seized the lorries belonging to the petitioners while transporting the spirit and registered a case on 20.01.2019 so also FIR in 122/2018-19 for carrying “Extra Netural Alcohol” (Spirit) from Madhya Pradesh to Kumbalgod, Karnataka. During the pendency of the investigation, the Excise Department took up the proceedings under Section 43-A of the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965 and confiscated the vehicles belonging to the petitioners including the spirit vide order dated 15.02.2020.

 Aggrieved by the said order of confiscation, petitioners being the transporters filed an appeal before the Additional District & Sessions Judge, Tumakuru, however, the Dist & Sessions Judge has allowed for releasing the vehicles to the petitioners but, has directed for destroying the spirit as unfit for human consumption. Therefore, the petitioners are appeared before this court.

Arguments presented by the learned counsel appearing for petitioner that the criminal proceedings against these two petitioners have already been quashed by a Co-ordinate Bench of this court and there is no case against these petitioners. These petitioners are running lorry transport. They have carried the spirit for their living and there is no intention of transporting for commission of offence.

Arguments presented by the learned High court government pleader appearing for respondent the impugned order calls for no interference by this Court as it is legal and valid.

After hearing both the counsels and records presented by them before the honourable court that it is not in dispute that the vehicles bearing registration nos.UP-15-AT-8941 and UP-15BT-8611 belong to the petitioners. The two trucks which was plying from Madhya Pradesh to Kumbalgod at Bengaluru, Karnataka carrying, were seized. A case was registered against the accused persons including the petitioners, distillery owner as well as the buyer. Petitioners 1 and 2 are the transporters who were hired on contract for carrying the spirit as ordered by the customers or the distillery owner. There is no offence committed by them except lending the vehicles for rent. Such being the case, the Co-ordinate bench of this Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the petitioners dated 18.07.2019. That apart, the proceedings against the petitioners under Section 43-A of the Act has been taken up by the Authorised Officer and the vehicles as well as the spirit were confiscated. The First Appellate Court rightly set-aside the order of the Excise Department confiscating the lorries and ordered for release which has ended in finality. But, the First Appellate Court has directed the authority to destroy the spirit.

Even the buyer and supplier of sprit has not come forward to challenge the order passed by the session judge. And the petitioners who have lent the truck for carrying the sprits, have no authority or ownership over the spirit and it cannot be returned to them. The Excise Department rightly confiscated the spirit under Section 43-A of the Act and First Appellate Court has rightly ordered to destroy the spirit as it is hazardous to the health and unfit for human consumption.If at all the supplier or the buyer had come forward seeking any counter claim of the spirit, the Court could have Considered it. But they have not challenged the same and the petitioners have no ownership over the spirit and have no authority to challenge the impugned order. The spirit was seized on 20.01.2019 and three years have elapsed as on today. Definitely the spirit becomes spurious and dangerous to life. Therefore, it has to be destroyed as per law passed by the session court.

And the petition is dismissed by the high court of Karnataka and also contended that the petitioner are not liable to pay the value of the sprits.

Click here to read the judgement

Judgement Reviewed by Sugam Anand Mishra

 

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