Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 16
For preventing police stations from turning into junkyards with confiscated vehicles lying all around, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to issue appropriate instructions for expeditious disposal of confiscation proceedings and public auction of confiscated vehicles.
The direction by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi came on a petition filed by Taroon alias Taarun Khan against Haryana and other respondents. The petitioner had challenged orders dismissing his application for the release of a pick-up vehicle on sapurdari in a case registered on March 13, 2019, registered under the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Animal Sacrifice Act at the Ferozepur Jhirka police station in Mewat district.
The Bench was told that the seized vehicle was allegedly lying in a police station for more than a year in an idle condition. The Bench was told that this would damage the engine and tyres and the seized vehicle would turn into junk.
Justice Tyagi observed that the seized vehicle was stated to have been confiscated by the Ferozepur Jhirka Subdivisional Magistrate vide an order dated April 11, 2019, without giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. Justice Tyagi noted that it appeared that proceedings had not taken place for ordering sale of the confiscated vehicle by public auction after hearing the owner.
Referring to the Supreme Court in the case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai, Justice Tyagi asserted that idle parking of confiscated vehicles in such cases would reduce these to junk, which would benefit neither the owner nor the state. Justice Tyagi pointed out that no person could be deprived of his life, liberty and property except in accordance with just and reasonable procedure prescribed by law.
Justice Tyagi stated that confiscation proceedings of vehicles were required to be concluded within reasonable time by following the prescribed procedure and could not be kept pending for unreasonable length of time. Justice Tyagi observed that it would be expedient in the interest of justice that the confiscated vehicles were sold by public auction and proceeds deposited in the treasury, which would safeguard the interests of the state.
Justice Tyagi asserted that in the eventuality of confiscation order being set aside by the appellate authority, High Court or Supreme Court, such proceeds would be payable to the owner. “In the absence of sale of confiscated vehicle by public auction, the state may be liable to pay compensation to the owner equivalent to market value of the vehicle released from confiscation at the time of its seizure by the police,” Justice Tyagi added.
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