T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate) 02 October 2023
As the seizure of the property by the police amounts to a clear entrustment of the property to a Government servant, the idea is that the property should be restored to the original owner after the necessity to retain it ceases. It is manifest that there may be two stages when the property may be returned to the owner. In the first place it may be returned during any inquiry or trial. This may particularly be necessary where the property concerned is subject to speedy or natural decay. There may be other compelling reasons also which may justify the disposal of the property to the owner or otherwise in the interest of justice. The High Court and the Sessions Judge proceeded on the footing that one of the essential requirements of the Code is that the articles concerned must be produced before the Court or should be in its custody. The object of the Code seems to be that any property which is in the control of the Court either directly or indirectly should be disposed of by the Court and a just and proper order should be passed by the Court regarding its disposal. In a criminal case, the police always acts under the direct control of the Court and has to take orders from it at every stage of an inquiry or trial. In this broad sense, therefore, the Court exercises an overall control on the actions of the police officers in every case where it has taken cognizance.”
Dr. J C Vashista (Advocate and Legal Consultant) 02 October 2023
SECTION 457. Procedure by police upon seizure of property.-
(1) Whenever the seizure of property by any police officer is reported to a Magistrate under the provisions of this Code, and such property is not produced before a Criminal Court during an inquiry or trial, the Magistrate may make such order as he thinks fit respecting the disposal of such property or the delivery of such property to the person entitled to the possession thereof, or if such person cannot be ascertained, respecting the custody and production of such property.
(2) If the person so entitled is known, the Magistrate may order the property to be delivered to him on such conditions (if any) as the Magistrate thinks fit and if such person is unknown, the Magistrate may detain it and shall, in such case, issue a proclamation specifying the articles of which such property consists, and requiring any person who may have a claim thereto, to appear before him and establish his claim within six months from the date of such proclamation.”