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Wasappa Timappa Sonagar Vs. the Secretary of State for India - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 628 of 1913
Judge
Reported inAIR1915Bom227; (1915)17BOMLR979
AppellantWasappa Timappa Sonagar
RespondentThe Secretary of State for India
Excerpt:
.....had an absolute right to it; and that the special provisions relating to investigation of claims to property mentioned in section 523 made the decision of the magistrate final and deprived the person aggrived from any right of action. the plaintiff having appealed :-;reversing the decree, that there was nothing in section 523 of the criminal procedure code to deprive the plaintiff of the right of suit to establish his claim.;queen-empress v. tribhovan maneckchand (1884) i.l.r. 9 bom. 181. followed.;the secretary of state for india v. vakhatsangji meghrajji (1894) i.l.r. 19 bom. 668. commented on. - - 3. the defendant secretary of state appealed to the district court which held that as under section 524 of the criminal procedure code the property was at the disposal of..........we are of opinion that this decision cannot be supported. the case referred to by the learned district judge, viz., the secretary of state for india in council v. vakhatsangji meghrajji i.l.r. (1894) 19 bom. 668, did not decide or purport to decide the point. in the judgment reference was made to a decision in which the point was decided, namely, queen-empress v. tribhovan manekchand i.l.r. (1884) 9 bom 131. it appears to us that the distinction between a case under section 523 and one under section 524, suggested by the judges in the secretary of state for india in council v. vakhatsangji meghrajji i.l.r. (1894) 19 bom. 668 has no substance, for the order upon the claim is made under section 523, and thereafter if the claim is rejected section 524 provides that the property shall.....
Judgment:

Basil Scott, C.J.

1. On the 9th of July 1909 the house of the plaintiff was searched by the Police of Dharwar and of the Savanur State in connection with a dacoity which had been committed in that State, and certain property including ornaments specified in the plaint was attached on suspicion. On the 30th September 1909, the Second Class Magistrate issued a proclamation under Section 523(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, requiring any person having a claim to the ornaments to appear and establish his claim within six months. On the 17th January 1910 the plaintiff appeared to support his claim to the ornaments. The claim was disallowed, and, on the 13th June 1910, an order was issued by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate under Section 524 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for sale of the ornaments. The sale proceeds were credited to the Government.

2. The plaintiff brings this suit alleging that the ornaments are his property and were illegally attached, and prays that the amount realised by the sale may be awarded to him with interest. The suit was decided in the plaintiff's favour, and a decree for Rs. 258-12-0 was passed by Mr. Varley, the Assistant Judge.

3. The defendant Secretary of State appealed to the District Court which held that as under Section 524 of the Criminal Procedure Code the property was at the disposal of Government, Government could do what it liked with it, and had an absolute right to it, and that the special provisions relating to investigation of claims to property mentioned in Section 523 made the decision of the Magistrate final, and deprived the person aggrieved from any right of action. We are of opinion that this decision cannot be supported. The case referred to by the learned District Judge, viz., The Secretary of State for India in Council v. Vakhatsangji Meghrajji I.L.R. (1894) 19 Bom. 668, did not decide or purport to decide the point. In the judgment reference was made to a decision in which the point was decided, namely, Queen-Empress v. Tribhovan Manekchand I.L.R. (1884) 9 Bom 131. It appears to us that the distinction between a case under Section 523 and one under Section 524, suggested by the Judges in The Secretary of State for India in Council v. Vakhatsangji Meghrajji I.L.R. (1894) 19 Bom. 668 has no substance, for the order upon the claim is made under Section 523, and thereafter if the claim is rejected Section 524 provides that the property shall be at the disposal of Government, and then as a consequence, Magistrates are empowered to make discretionary orders for sales of such property. Now in Queen-Empress v. Tribhovan Manekchand I.L.R. (1884) 9 Bom 131 the Court held that although the claim by two accused persons to property seized on suspicion had been decided against them under Section 523, that did not deprive them of the right of suit to establish their claim.

4. The learned District Judge relied in support of his decision upon Ramachandra v. The Secretary of State I.L.R. (1888) Mad. 105. But that case was properly distinguished by the learned Assistant Judge, who pointed out that the present case has nothing to do with rights created by Statute, for the enforcement o which a special remedy is given. We set aside the decision of the District Judge, and remand the case for disposal upon the other issues. The respondent must pay the appellant's costs of this appeal.


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