(Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of a Writ of Mandamus directing the First Respondent to release the Lorry bearing Registration No.TDD-1357 seized by the Second Respondent on 28.07.2016, to the Petitioner.)
1. Heard the Learned Counsel for the Petitioner and the Learned Additional Government Pleader for the Respondents.
2. By consent, the writ petition is taken up for final hearing.
3. According to the Petitioner, his Lorry bearing registration No.TDD-1357 was seized by the Second Respondent on 28.07.2016 on the allegation that the vehicle was used to transport five bags of rice (each contains 50 Kgs), 10 Kgs of Toor Dhal and 10 Kgs of Moong Dhal. After seizure of the vehicle, the Second Respondent produced the vehicle before the First Respondent/District Revenue Officer, Kanyakumari District, Nagercoil.
4. It appears that after seizure of the vehicle, the petitioner made a detail representation on 29.07.2016 addressed to the First Respondent praying of release of his vehicle. Till date, his vehicle has not been released by the First Respondent. Hence, he has filed the present writ petition.
5. It is to be borne in mind that if the seized vehicle is exposed to hot sun and if it is kept in the open yard, then the seized vehicle will lose its value and in case of rain also there is possibility of the vehicle getting damaged and also rusted in the usual course. It is represented on behalf of the Petitioner that till date no confiscation proceedings has been initiated by the concerned authorities.
6. Considering the fact that the Petitioner's vehicle bearing registration No.TDD-1357 was seized by the Second Respondent on 28.07.2016, at this stage, this Court is inclined to pass an order of releasing the vehicle bearing registration No.TDD-1357 subject to the following conditions:-
(a) The petitioner is directed to deposit a sum of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) in cash before the Second respondent;
(b) The petitioner is directed to produce all the documents pertaining to the ownership of the seized vehicle;
(c) The petitioner is to file an affidavit of undertaking that he will cause production of the vehicle in question before the competent/concerned respondents (as the case may be) as and when called for and further, he will not alienate the vehicle in question till the appropriate proceedings initiated are completed;
(d) On compliance of the above conditions, the second respondent is directed to release the seized vehicle JCB bearing Registration No.PY-01-AD-2578, to the petitioner (if he is in custody and possession), within three days from the date of receipt of a copy of this order;
(e) The Second respondent is directed to pass final orders in the adjudication proceedings within a period of 45 days;
(f) This order for the release of the vehicle can be pressed into service by the petitioner only if the vehicle is not in the custody of the criminal Court. If the vehicle is in the custody of concerned Criminal Court of appropriate jurisdiction, then, option is given to the petitioner to approach the concerned Judicial Magistrate to get release of the vehicle, by filing necessary application in the manner known to law and in accordance with law; and
(g) Inasmuch as the Vehicle bearing registration No.TDD-1357is seized by the Second Respondent on 28.07.2016, the above order is to be complied with within a period of one week, if no order of adjudication is passed as on today.
7. With the aforesaid directions, the Writ Petition stands disposed of. No costs.