LAXMI RANI AICH Vs. THE STATE & ANR.
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
Laxmi Rani Aich
The State And Anr.
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Monoj Kumar Mukherjee, J. -
(1.) On April 21, 1982, Baidyanath Majumder, opposite party no 2 herein, filed an application before the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate, Burdwan, praying for an order under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. In that application. Sri Majumder stated that ha and his wife purchased a motor car bearing registration No. WMA 4204 from Smt. Luxmi Rani Aich, the petitioner herein, on June 20, 1979 for a valuable consideration and, thereafter, deposited all the papers with the Registration Office of Burdwan for registration of their names in respect of the vehicle. Sri Majumder further stated that since the purchase, they possessed the car till April 18, 1982 when the driver of the car took out the vehicle on a false pretext and did not return with the car. The prayer of Sri Majumder was allowed and Burdwan P.S. Case No. 79 dated April 21, 1982 under Section 408 I.P.C was instituted against Ajay Aich the driver of the vehicle. In course of investigation of the case, the police seized the vehicle on August 26, 1982 from the petitioner Luxmi Aich
Thereafter, Sri Majumder filed an application for return of the vehicle to him and Smt Aich, in her turn, also filed a similar application. The learned Magistrate called for a report from the Investigating Officer on those applications and on perusal of the same and after hearing the parties passed an order on October 5, 1982 directing return of the vehicle to Sri Majumder on his executing a bond for Rs. 50,000/-. The above order is under challenge at the instance of Smt. Aich.
(2.) Mr. Hazra, learned Advocate for the petitioner, contended that as Smt. Aich was the registered owner in respect of the vehicle in question, the learned Magistrate could not have directed return of the vehicle to any one other than the registered owner and is support of his contention he relied upon a judgment of this court in the case of Mahamaya Dasi v. Sanat Kumar, reported in AIR 1986 Calcutta 564 wherein it was held that since the registered owner was liable for complying with the various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, it was just and desirable that he should be handed over the vehicle, in preference to others. In my considered view the principle enunciated therein will not be applicable in the facts of the instant case. It appears that on June 20, 1979, the petitioner sold the vehicle to Sri Majumder and his wife and on February 26, 1979 Sri Majumder deposited the registration certificate, valid tax token, valid insurance certificate and sale intimation letter received by them from Smt. Aich ; and the receipts showing the deposit of those documents were seized by the Investigating Officer in connection with the case. That Sri Majumder was thereafter in possession of the vehicle is apparent from certain documents seized by the investigating officer, which indicate that an "Assistant Engineer of the Public Works Department, Burdwan, hired the vehicle from Sri Majumder for the period from July 16, 1979 to January 25, 1980 and Sri Majumder received official payment for the same. It must, therefore, be said that Sri Majumder was in lawful possession of the vehicle in question at the material time. In all such circumstances, the learned Magistrate was fully justified in directing return of the vehicle to Sri Majumder. I, however, make it clear that so long as the vehicle remains in possession of Sri Majumder pursuant to the order of the learned Magistrate, he shall be liable for any violation of the Motor Vehicles Act or any other law as if he is the registered owner of the vehicle Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the case has in the meantime ended in a charge-sheet against Smt. Aich & ors. under Section 120B read with Section 420 I.P.C.
The Rule is discharged.
Let the records be sent down early.
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