Cuttack: Automobiles seized by authorities in India are often found lying in parking yards with absolutely no care, unless one gets them released. And if one’s vehicle is seized as part of an ongoing legal case, then chances is there that it will not be released as long as the case continues.
A major downfall of such a scenario is that one’s vehicle will most likely be exposed to natural hazards like heavy rains, sunlight, storm, and whatnot.
In a recent case in Odisha, the High Court observed that it is of no use of keeping seized vehicles in police stations for a very long period.
The observation pertains to a case where a Tata Ace vehicle was seized by the police for transporting IMFL. The owner of the vehicle filed a petition with the HC explaining multiple reasons why the vehicle should be released. One of the reasons mentioned that his vehicle was being left exposed to sun, rain, and natural hazards, which will cause irreversible damage to his vehicle and lead to the decay of his vehicle. Justice Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi directed the authorities to release the vehicle to its owner on various grounds, including that the vehicle was being exposed to external hazards.
The HC stated that seized vehicles should not be kept in police stations for a long period. The law currently states that a seized vehicle can be returned to the owner by the Magistrate after taking appropriate bond, guarantee, as well as security for the return of the said vehicle if required at any point of time. In the case where a seized vehicle is not claimed by an owner, the insurance company can be allowed by the court to take possession of that vehicle. And for seized vehicles that are not claimed by insurance companies as well as owners, such vehicles may be ordered to be auctioned by the Court.