Kerala High Court: N. Nagaresh, J., directed the Geologist of Department of mining & geology, Manjeri to release wrongfully seized vehicles of the petitioners which were seized alleging illegal trafficking of granite stones.
The petitioners, a father, and a son, are owners of the vehicles which were seized by the Station House Officer, alleging that the vehicles were illegally transporting granite stones from a granite crusher without having valid passes.
On the contrary, the petitioners contended that they were holding valid Electronic Mineral Transit Passes issued by the Geologist on the date of seizure which made the continued seizure of the vehicles illegal and unwarranted.
The petitioners alleged that though they had submitted representations before the Geologist, Department of mining & geology, Manjeri, no steps had been taken to release the vehicles, and the continued detention would damage the vehicles and put the petitioners in untold difficulties.
Contesting the petition, the State contended that when the vehicles were seized, the drivers did not show any Mineral Transit Passes and it was in such circumstances that the vehicles were seized.
The Court noted that the vehicles were seized on 28-07-2022 at 11.00 a.m while the Mineral Transit Passes issued by the Geologist indicated that the Passes were generated at 10.19 a.m and 10.23 a.m respectively on 28-07-2022. Therefore, the Court held that the vehicles had valid Mineral Transit Passes at the time of seizure and the detention of the vehicles was unwarranted.
Accordingly, the writ petition is disposed of directing the Geologist was directed to release the vehicles of the petitioners forthwith, after obtaining an undertaking from the petitioner that the vehicles will not be alienated pending the proceedings and will be produced as and when required.
[Stephen Rodrigues v. Geologist, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 4001, decided on 08-08-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
K. Aboobacker Sidheeque, Advocate, for the Petitioner;
G.P. Syamanthak B S, Advocate, for the Respondents.
*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.