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Criminal Courts which do not have power to pass order for final disposal of property and also cannot have power to pass order for interim custody of property : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Furkan vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh (MISC. CRIMINAL CASE No. 40889 of 2021) upheld that Criminal Courts which do not have power to pass order for final disposal of property and also cannot have power to pass order for interim custody of property

Facts of the case: In this case the Police Station Badri District Sagar had seized vehicle and Cow Progeny for commission of offences under sections 4, 6, 9 of Gow Vansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, Section 11(1) (1) (gha) Cruelty of Animals Act and under Section 125-E of the Motor Vehicle Act. After seizure of the vehicle, petitioner filed an application under Section 457 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for interim custody of the vehicle. Trial Court dismissed the application. Petitioner has challenged the impugned order on ground that he has filed documents of ownership of seized vehicle and no other person has claimed vehicle, therefore, as per settled law, vehicle ought to have released on supurdginama.

Judgment: The court held that the Criminal Courts have power to order for custody and disposal of property pending trial when property is produced before the Criminal Court during enquiry or trial under Section 451 of the Cr.P.C. Under the said section, when property is produced before Criminal Court then interim custody is granted. Criminal Court during conclusion of trial under Section 450 of the Cr.P.C. has power to pass order for final disposal of property. Final disposal of property includes destruction of property, confiscation of property or delivery of property to any person entitled possession thereof.

Magistrate has power to grant interim custody of property under Section 457 of the Cr.P.C. when property is not produced before Criminal Court during enquiry or trial and Magistrate can pass order for delivery of such property to person entitled to be in possession thereof. However, if Magistrate passes an order of interim custody of vehicle during trial then he has to pass final order for disposal of property at the time of conclusion of trial.

Criminal Courts, which do not have power to pass order for final disposal of property and also cannot have power to pass order for interim custody of property. Under Gow Vansh Pratishedh Adhiniyam and Rules power to pass order for confiscation of property is vested with District Magistrate. Since power to pass order regarding confiscation of property is with the District Magistrate, therefore, the Magistrate cannot have power to release the vehicle on interim custody as he will have  no power for final disposal of that property at the conclusion of trial.

Legislature has intentionally not given any right to District Magistrate for passing an order of interim custody of vehicle and said right has been given to appellate authority after final order of confiscation has been passed. In view of the same, Magistrate do not have any power under Sections 451, 452 and 457 of Cr. P. C. to order interim custody or final disposal of property in question. In view of the aforesaid, MCr.C. filed by the petitioner was dismissed.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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