18 November 2019


High Court of Chhattisgarh

Ranjeet Kumar Gupta v . State of Chhattisgarh and Ors.




Order of confiscation can only be challenged, when it reaches it's finality

Instant petition is against order passed by Collector, wherein an application for interim custody of vehicle preferred by Petitioner while proceeding under confiscation was continuing was dismissed. It was alleged by State that, vehicle was being used for transporting illicit liquor, as such proceeding under Section 47 (A) of Chhattisgarh Excise Act, 1915/Act was drawn for confiscation of vehicle. Collector started confiscation proceeding for vehicle. Petitioner submitted that, confiscation proceeding though having been commenced, it do not put any bar to release vehicles on interim custody.

Section 47 (2) of Act, would show that, power has been given to Collector upon production of article and on having satisfied that, offence covered under clause (a) or clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 34 has been committed and if liquor is more than 5 bulk liters, he may order for confiscation of articles, intoxicants, implements, utensils including the conveyance so seized. It also records that, he may during pendency of proceeding may pass an order of interim nature for custody, disposal etc. of confiscated intoxicants, articles, implements, conveyance, as may appear to be necessary in facts of case.

Section 47 (B) of Chhattisgarh Excise Act, 1915 provides for appeal against order of confiscation. Therefore, it necessarily leads that, order of confiscation can only be challenged when it reaches it's finality and statute do not give any space to challenge any other order except final one. In view of this, necessary implication would be that, any order of interim nature if any passed, High Court in exercise of it's power vested in it, under Article 227 can always test propriety or legality of order. It is a settled proposition of jurisprudence that, every wrong will have a remedy. If order is found to be wrong then certainly the High Court would have all power to correct the same.

Order under challenge would show that, it is cryptic order. No reasons have been assigned for rejection and only it is stated that, since vehicle was found in transporting illicit liquor as such, it is not feasible to hand over vehicle to Petitioner. So for all practical purposes, vehicle is lying at disposal of authorities or at police station. Therefore, if it is kept in police station, it must be occupying space or is prone to cause natural decay and may loose its roadworthiness, when kept in stationery position. In facts of case and in view of law laid down in case of General Insurance Council and others v. State of Andhra Pradesh and others reported wherein earlier principles laid down in case of Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat was reiterated, order of rejection of application for interim custody cannot be allowed to remain. Consequently, applying said principles, it is directed that, vehicle be released in favour of Petitioner by way of interim measure, if confiscation proceedings have not been concluded till date of production of this order.


General Insurance Council and others v. State of Andhra Pradesh and others reported in MANU/SC/0271/2010
: (2010) 6 SCC 768, Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat reported in MANU/SC/1110/2002
: (2002) 10 SCC 283

Tags : Vehicle Release Interim custody

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