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Smt. Raj Kour Randhawa vs State Of M.P. on 27 April, 2005

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Smt. Raj Kour Randhawa vs State Of M.P. on 27 April, 2005
Equivalent citations: 2005 (4) MPHT 400
Author: S Pande
Bench: S Pande


JUDGMENT

S.K. Pande, J.

1. This appeal under Section 454 of Cr.PC is directed against the order dated 24-9-03 passed by the Special Judge, Jabalpur in Special Case No. 12/02 whereby truck MP 20-D/7770 has been confiscated.

Admittedly, appellant is the registered owner of truck MP 20- D/7770. On 19-3-02 the Truck aforesaid driven by her son Ravinder Singh was stopped by the Police on N.H. 7. The search of truck being conducted, 24 bags containing Ganja were found kept under the Tripal. As such, 692.600 Kgs. Ganja was seized from Ravinder Singh. Completing investigation, Ravinder Singh was prosecuted under Section 8/20(b)(ii)(C) of NDPS Act, 1985. In Special Case No. 12/02, vide impugned judgment dated 24-9-03 the Court below recording conviction of Ravinder Singh under Section 8/20 directed confiscation of truck aforesaid.

2. Section 60 deals with the confiscation of animals or conveyance used in carrying any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Section 60(3) reads as under:

“Any animal or conveyance used in carrying any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or controlled substance, or any article liable to confiscation under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2) shall be liable to confiscations, unless the owner of the animal or conveyance proves that it was so used without the knowledge or connivance of the owner himself, his agent, if any and the person-in-charge of the animal or conveyance and that each of them had taken all reasonable precautions against such use.”

Section 60 is required to be read with Section 63 which lays down the procedure in making confiscation. Proviso to Section 60 is to the effect that no order of confiscation of article or thing shall be made until the expiry of one month from the date of seizure, or without hearing any person who may claim any right thereto and the evidence, if any which he produces in respect of his claim.

Appellant being the registered owner of the truck is entitled to prove that the truck was so used without her knowledge or connivance and reasonable precautions against misuse was taken. Subject to hearing on facts aforesaid alone the Court could have exercised jurisdiction vested in it by Section 60 so far it relates to confiscation of truck. The documents showing ownership of truck MP 20-D/7770 were seized from the possession of driver Ravinder Singh, These documents were filed in Special Case No. 12/02. It was incumbent upon the Court below to have issued a notice to the appellant in the matter of proceedings in relation to confiscation of truck. In the absence of hearing, the order confiscating the truck being illegal, deserves to be set aside.

3. Consequently, appeal is allowed. Order impugned confiscating the truck is set aside. Instead the Court below is directed to issue a show-cause notice to the appellant and decide afresh in accordance with law.

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