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Premises include all moveable items within the structure and the land on which the premises is situated: High Court of Patna

Word ‘premises’ include the immovable structure, all moveable items within the structure and the land on which the premises is situated, any premises or part thereof that may have been used for storing or manufacturing any liquor or intoxicant or for committing any other offence and the same was upheld by High Court of Patna through the learned bench led by JUSTICE S. KUMAR in the case of Sushil Prasad Yadav @ Shushila Prasad Yadav @ Sushil Rai vs. State of Bihar [Case No.735 of 2022] on 08.03.2022.

The facts of the case are that the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 prohibits the manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation, possession, sale, purchase and consumption of any intoxicant or liquor, unless so allowed in terms of the Act under Section 13. In addition to the penalty imposed for committing such an offence, Section 56 of the Act lays down the procedure for confiscation of ‘things’ used for in the commission of such an offence. Under section 58 power to issue an order of confiscation vests with the District Collector/Authorized officer who upon receipt of the report of the seizing officer detaining such property ‘things’ is required to pass an order.

The petitioner seeks for issuance of writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order, direction to the respondents to release the Glamour motorcycle which has been seized for the offences under section 30(a) of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act. 2016.

The petitioner’s counsel stated that where parties have not approached this Court, the direction of reasonable delay used in Section 58 of Chapter VI of the Act has to be within three months for any authority to adjudicate any issue when dealing with confiscatory proceedings. The confiscating authority shall consider the provision of Section 56 of the Act, apply his mind and pass speaking order with regard to confiscation initiated.

The respondent’s counsel submitted that the order is to be communicated to the concerned appropriate authority i.e. District Magistrate, empowered under Section 58 of the Act.

The Court held that issue shall be decided by each and every District Magistrate before proceeding in the confiscation proceedings where the allegation is about the vehicle being driven in a drunken condition and no liquor was found from the possession of the vehicle. The Court observed that, “word ‘premises’ include the immovable structure, all moveable items within the structure and the land on which the premises is situated. 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.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

 

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