Gujarat High Court: A Bench of Sonia Gokani, J., allowed a petition directing the concerned authorities to release the seized-vehicle.
In the pertinent case, the petitioner was the owner of the seized vehicle which was seized on receiving secret information of the vehicle in question carrying liquor, while the police personnel were on patrolling. An FIR was subsequently lodged for the offence under the Gujarat Prohibition Act.
The petitioner urged the Court to exercise its wide powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Also, relied on Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat (2002) 10 SCC 283, where the Apex Court lamented the scenario of a number of vehicles having been kept un-attended and becoming junk within the police station premises.
High Court chose not to enter into the present matter and reserved it to be decided upon in future since the issues raised in reference to Sections, pertained to the Gujarat Prohibition Act and hence being a contentious issue. Instead, the Court exercised the powers under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India. The Court further directed the release of the vehicle subject to certain restrictions to be adhered by the petitioner. And even went to the extent of directing, that in cases of unclaimed vehicles by the accused, owner, or the insurance company of such vehicle may be ordered to be auctioned by the Court. [Hansaben Jagdishbhai Vasava v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Criminal Application No. 916 of 2019, Order dated 08-02-2019]