Gujarat High Court bench of Justice ILESH J. VORA quashed a ruling by Civil Judge and released the petitioner’s vehicle, a Maruti Swift car, that had been taken into custody for possession of liquor. The police found liquor in the car without any pass or permit and had filed an offence punishable under the Gujarat Prohibition Act. Earlier, the 2nd Additional Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC), Vijapur had ruled against the release of the car.
The learned advocate of the petitioner invoked extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226, supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India and inherent powers of this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, to release the seized vehicle.
“In the case ‘SUNDERBHAI AMBALAL DESAI VS. STATE OF GUJARAT’, AIR 2003 SC 638, wherein, the Apex Court lamented the scenario of the number of vehicles having been kept unattended and becoming junk within the police station premises”, the petitioner argued.
The learned counsel of the respondent, the State of Gujarat, objected to the submissions.
“In the case of ‘ANIL KUMAR RAM LAL & RAMANLALJI MEHTA VS. STATE OF GUJARAT’ and in the earlier decision in ‘PARESHKUMAR JAYKARBHAI BRAHMBHATT VS. STATE OF GUJARAT’, the Courts below have been held to have no jurisdiction to order the interim release of the vehicle, pending trial, where, the vehicle is seized in connection with the offence under the Prohibition Act and the quantity of the liquor seized exceeds 10 litres”, the State argued.
The petitioner highlighted that the Gujarat High Court in the case of Musa Khan Jat Vs. State of Gujarat (SCR.A/7190/2017), in an identical R/SCR.A/4007/2022 ORDER DATED: 21/04/2022 case, released the vehicle by exercising the power under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India.
Finally, the court ordered to release of the petitioner’s vehicle under the following conditions:
- Shall furnish a solvent surety of the amount equivalent to the value of the vehicle in question as per the value disclosed in the seizure memo or panchnama.
- Shall file an undertaking before the trial Court that before alienation or transfer in any mode or manner, prior permission of the concerned Court shall be taken till the conclusion of the trial.
- Shall also file an undertaking to produce the vehicle as and when directed by the trial court.
- In the event of any subsequent offence, the vehicle shall stand CONFISCATED.
- The court also ordered that before handing over the possession of the vehicle to the petitioner, necessary photographs be taken and a detailed panchnama in that regard, if not already drawn, shall also be drawn for the purpose of the trial.