Decided on February 17,1966

STATE Respondents


N.G.SHELAT, J. - (1.) THAT takes me to the other application, which is directed against the order, passed by the learned Magistrate on 20-2-1965 below Ex. 6 in the case. The learned Magistrate as also the learned Sessions Judge appear to have been carried away by the impression that as the motor car came to be attached from the custody of accused No 1 it has to be returned to him during the pendency of the trial subject of course to such conditions as may be laid down by the Court. However the learned Judge has lost sight of the fact that ordinarily when any property such as the motor vehicle is attached or seized by police one has to consider the effect of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act for finding out the true claimant before passing orders relating to such property during the pendency of the proceedings under sec. 516A of the Criminal Procedure Code. It appears from the order passed by the learned Magistrate on 20 for issuing process against accused No. 1 under sec. 406 of the Indian Penal Code that he has found that there is a prima facie case about the complainant having invested money for the purpose of the motor car and that the same has been registered with the Regional Transport Authorities in his name Now sec. 22 of the Motor Vehicles Act makes the registration obligatory before any such motor vehicle could be driven either by the owner thereof or by some other person on his be half. As provided therein no person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place for the purpose of carrying passengers or goods unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner. Sec. 24 then provides as to how registration has to be made. An application by or on behalf of the owner of a motor vehicle for registration shall be given in certain form set out in the Schedule and it shall contain certain information required therein. The proviso thereto then says that where a motor vehicle is jointly owned by more persons than one the application shall be made by one of them on behalf of all the owners and such applicant shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle for the purposes of this Act. It is thereafter that the registration certificate is being issued. Such a registration certificate has been issued in favour of the complainant alone and nowhere does the name of accused No. 1 appear in respect thereof. Sec. 28 of the Act then says that such a certification of registration issued in respect of any such vehicle shall be effective throughout India. Then sec. 31 of the Act provides for a transfer of ownership of any such vehicle. Where the ownership of any motor vehicle is transferred the transferor shall within fourteen days of the transfer report the transfer to the registering authority and shall simultaneously send a copy of the said report to the transferee. Then clause (b) says that the transferee shall within thirty days of the transfer report the transfer to the registering authority within whose jurisdiction he resides and shall forward the certificate of registration to that registering authority together with the prescribed fee and a copy of the report received by him from the transferor in order that particulars of the transfer of ownership may be entered in the certificate of registration. It follows from the provisions referred to here above that the registration certificate is an essential necessity before any such motor vehicle can be made use of and that any person in whose favour this certificate of registration is issued obviously would be the owner thereof. In case of any transfer of ownership in respect of that motor vehicle the procedure is contemplated under sec. 31 of the Act and till any such transfer of ownership is entered in the certificate of registration one has to take it that the person in whose favour such a certificate of registration is issued by the motor transport authorities is the owner and that way entitled to remain in possession thereof. Noncompliance of certain provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act sometime make the owner responsible. In those circumstances it would be ordinarily prudent and in consonance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act to allow such a motor vehicle to remain in possession of such a person in whose name the certificate of registration stands. Any other person can be taken to be a person at the most as making use of it on his behalf or if there is no consent on his part as against his interest. In cases of this character possession by itself would not be a true criterion for the return of the same to a person from whom it has been seized or attached by the police in relation to a case against him. In my view the person on whose name the motor vehicle stands with the registering authority would be entitled to remain in custody thereof and not any other person unless he is able to establish his superior title for claim over it. Order set aside and the trial Court directed to hand over the motorcar on furnishing security.;

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