SURENDRA CHOUDHARY Vs. STATE OF BIHAR
HIGH COURT OF PATNA
STATE OF BIHAR
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Sanjay Karol,J. -
(1.) Heard learned counsel for the petitioner and learned counsel for the State. Petitioner has prayed for the following reliefs: -
"(I) To issue an appropriate order/s, direction/s including a writ preferably in nature of Mandamus commanding the respondents to release the vehicle/Passion Pro motorcycle bearing Reg. No. BR-27H-7662, Chassis No.- MBLHA10BSGHL18698, Engine No. HA10EVGHL22911 in favour of the petitioner who is owner of the said motorcycle seized in Sirdala P.S. Case No. 493/19 under section 30(a) of Bihiar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 lying in the premises of Police station and subject to natural decay by furnishing sufficient security to the satisfaction of learned Addl. District and Sessions Judge-II-cum-Spl. Judge Excise, Nawada.
(II) To quash the order dated 13-01-2020 passed by Addl. District and Sessions Judge-II-cum-Spl. Judge Excise, Nawada in connection with Sirdala P.S. Case No. 439/19 offences u/s 30(a) of Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 whereby and where under he has rejected the petition of petitioner for release of alleged motorcycle.
(III) To quash the notice dated 14-12-2019 issued to brother of the petitioner issued by District Collector-cum-District Magistrate, Nawada vide Case No. 744(M)2019 whereby and where under the learned District Magistrate, Nawada ordered to appear before him on 05-02-2020 and filed show cause for confiscated motorcycle bearing Reg. No. BR27H/7662 which has been seized in Sirdala P.S. Case No. 439/2019.
(IV) Any other relief/s to which the petitioners are entitled in the facts and circumstances of the case."
(2.) Learned counsel for the petitioner prays that the petition be disposed of in terms of the judgment dated 22.12.2020, passed in Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.9592 of 2020 (Dharmendra Mahto versus The State of Bihar).
(3.) In the case of Dharmendra Mahto (supra) this Court has referred and discussed all the previous case laws on the subject. Some of the judgments rendered in similar matters are as under:-
(i) Md. Shaukat Ali Vs. The State of Bihar and Ors.,2020 3 PLJR 927.
(ii) Umesh Sah Versus The State of Bihar and Ors.,2020 3 PLJR 931.
(iii) Bunilal Sah @ Munilal Sah Vs. The State of Bihar and Ors.,2020 3 PLJR 935.
The operating part of the judgment in the case of Md. Shaukat Ali are being briefly reproduced as under:-
"(a) Since the vehicle in question stands seized in relation to the FIR which stood registered long ago, in case confiscation proceeding has not been initiated, it must be initiated within a period of 15 days from today and that confiscation proceeding stands initiated, we direct the appropriate authority under the Act to forthwith ensure that such proceedings be concluded not later than 30 days.
(b) The petitioner undertakes to make himself available in the office of the concerned appropriate authority empowered under Section 58 of the Act i.e. District Collector, in his/her office on 24.01.2020 at 10:30 A.M.
(c) We further direct the appropriate authority to positively conclude the confiscation proceeding within next thirty days on appearance of the petitioner. If for whatever reason, such proceeding cannot be concluded, in that event it shall be open for the authority to take such measures, as are permissible in law, for release of the vehicle in question by way of interim measure, on such terms as may be deemed appropriate, considering the attending facts and circumstances of the case.
(d) If eventually, the appropriate authority arrives at a conclusion that the property is not liable to be confiscated, it shall be open for the petitioner to seek damages in accordance with law and have appropriate proceedings initiated against the erring officials/officers.
Learned counsel for the petitioner states that the certified copy of the order shall be made available to the concerned District Collector on the date so fixed.
For future guidance, where parties have not approached this Court, we issue the following direction:-
The expression "reasonable delay" used in Section 58 of Chapter VI of the Act, in our considered view, necessarily has to be within a reasonable time and with dispatch, which period, in our considered view, three months time is sufficient enough for any authority to adjudicate any issue, more so, when we are dealing with confiscatory proceedings." ;
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