Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Ravindra Maithani, J. allowed a petition setting aside the impugned order of the Court while passing the orders for the release of the vehicle in question.
In the present case to state the facts tacitly the vehicle in question was seized by the Police when 134g of charas was recovered from the petitioner (registered owner) and 233g from the pillion rider. The petitioner moved an application to release the vehicle from the custody which was dismissed by the trial Court. Thus the present petition was filed. It was argued that the court has erred in law in holding that in view of the provision of Section 60 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (Act), the vehicle cannot be released. Section 51 of the Act, the provisions of the Code would be applicable in cases of warrants, arrests, searches and seizures and in view of Section 451 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Code), the vehicle ought to have been released in the custody of its registered owner.
The Court was of the opinion that, “Even otherwise in the absence of any provision, which bars from release of any vehicle seized, there appears no reason to keep the vehicle in Police custody until the conclusion of the trial. There are various issues related with the upkeep of such articles specially a vehicle. This Court is of the view that the provision of Section 60 of the Act at all does not debar from releasing a vehicle during pendency of the trial. The provision of Section 60 of the Act and Section 451 of the Code act in different spheres. It is the matter of interim custody only”. But the Court granted the same on certain conditions: producing it whenever called to do so; not changing it’s shape without prior permission of the Court; not to transfer it’s ownership without prior permission of the Court, etc; the production of the vehicle may be ensured at any later stage of the trial or at the time of confiscation proceeding. The Court relied on Ashok Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2001) 9 SCC 718 while pronouncing the Judgment.[Abhijeet Kumar v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 265, decided on 10-04-2019]