P.D. Kudal, J.
1. This is a criminal revision under Section 401, read with Section 397, Criminal P.C. against the order of the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Baran dated 14-4-1975, arising out of order dated 21-9-1974, passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate, Baran.
2. The facts of the case, in brief, are that Truck No. RJG 418 initially belonged to Devi Lai D. W, 1, who later on transferred it in favour of Ishak Ali D. W. 2 for a sum of Rs. 33,501/-. The accused Shankar Lai advanced a part of this consideration, and Rs. 15,000/- were borrowed from the Fair Finance Company of Delhi under Hire Purchase Agreement. Ishak Ali was the hirer and Shankar Lai was the guarantor. The contention of the accused Shankar Lai was that he was the real owner of the truck, while Ishak Ali was only a 'benamidar.' Ishak Ali plied the truck for some time, and later on, on 16-6-1969, he delivered the truck to Prem Sagar, under an arrangement. The truck was involved in an accident near Nasirabad. The police of Magalia P.S. seized the same on 24-7-1969. Ishak Ali executed a power of attorney in favour of Prem Sagar authorising him inter alia to sell, mortgage, hypothecate, alienate or gift the said truck. This power of attorney was executed on 21-8-1969. On the basis of this authority Prem Sagar moved an application for the release of the truck on 'superdginama' in the Court of Munsiff Magistrate, Nasirabad. The truck was handed over on 'Superdginama' to Prem Sagar on his executing a surety of Rs. 10,000/-. On 8-4-1970 when the truck was standing near the shop of Prem Sagar at Baran, Shankar Lai accompanied with Mohan Lai, and Ayub took the possession of the truck. Prem Sagar lodged FIR Ex. P-4 with the Police Station, Baran on 8-4-1970, on the basis of which a case was registered against Shankar Lai and others. But the truck was seized during the investigation. After the completion of the investigations, the accused persons were challaned and the truck No. RJG-418 was handed over to Prem Sagar on 'Superdginama'. Charges under Section 379, I. P.C. were framed against Shankar Lai and Mohan Lai, while Ayub was charge-sheeted under Section 411, I. P.C. The learned Magistrate acquitted all the three accused-persons of the charges framed against them. It was further ordered that the truck No. RJG-418 may be handed over to Shankar Lai, who is the real owner. Feeling aggrieved against this order, Prem Sagar filed an appeal before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Baran. This appeal was allowed on 14-4-1974, and it was ordered that the truck No. RJG-418 may be handed over to the complainant party Prem Sagar. Shankar Lai feeling aggrieved by this order of the learned Addl. Sessions Judge has filed the present revision petition.
3. On behalf of Shankar Lai, it was contended that the order of the learned Addl. Sessions Judge is erroneous in law, as the learned Addl. Sessions Judge has no jurisdiction of ordering that the truck be handed over to Prem Sagar, as on 8-4-1970, the truck was seized by the police from the possession of Shankar Lal. It was further contended that for ell intent and purposes Shankar Lai was the real owner of the truck, and that on 27-3-1970, Ishak Ali had applied to the registration authority that the registration of the truck may be transferred in the name of Shankar Lai. It was, therefore, contended that even if the applicant Shankar Lai had taken over the possession of the truck on 8-4-1970 from the custody of Prem Sagar, then too, no illegality was committed as the real owner of the truck took the possession of the property which belonged to him. It was also contended that the interests of justice require that the truck should be ordered to be handed over to Shankar Lal.
4. On behalf of Prem Sagar, it was contended that the order of the learned Addl. Sessions Judge suffers from no infirmity, and calls for no interference on the revisional side. It was also contended that it is the admitted position that the truck was handed over to Prem Sagar on 16-6-1969 by Ishak Ali for plying the same. It is also an admitted position that the truck was handed over to Prem Sagar on 'Superdnama' under the orders of the learned Munsiff-Magistrate. Nasirabad, It was further contended that if the contentions of the learned Counsel for the applicant finds favour with the Court, then it would mean that a premium in being paid to Shankar Lai for his unauthorised and wrongful act of taking the truck in his possession on 8-4-1970. It was also contended that a Court of Criminal Jurisdiction has to see as to which of the contesting party is best entitled to possession. It was further contended that in the circumstances of the case, Prem Sagar is the person who is best entitled to the custody of the truck. It was also contended that the intricate Question of title cannot be investigated in such summary proceedings. If Shankar Lai has any title to the truck, he is at liberty to get the matter decided before a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction.
5. On behalf of the applicant, reliance was placed on Dhanna v. State, 1956 Raj LW 192, wherein it was held as under:
The ordinary rule Is that where an accused person is acquitted of an offence in relation to such property and the property has been recovered from his possession, the Court should order such property to be returned to him. If the Court thinks it proper to depart from this ordinary rule, it must give its reasons for doing so. Where the case of the accused was, that he had purchased the property recovered from some third person and that third person also came in evidence and supported the case of the accused, it could not possibly be said that such a case fell within the ambit of any exceptional cases under Section 517. It then becomes a case where the title to the stolen property becomes a matter of contest between two rival parties and in such a case, where the accused stands acquitted, it is not a sound exercise of judicial discretion to order the handing over the property recovered to the complainant instead of the accused.
6. On behalf of non-applicants, reliance was placed on Nalluswami Reddi v. Nallammal AIR 1943 Mad 392::44 Cri LJ 554) wherein it has been held that a question of title to property cannot be satisfactorily decided by a Criminal Court; but where property is taken by violence by one person under the colour of a civil claim, the Criminal Court should ordinarily order the property so taken by violence to be returned to the person from whom it was taken.
7. Reliance was also placed on the case of Arjun Padhy v. State of Orissa : AIR1965Ori198 wherein it has been held as under:
The general rule is that when a property is seized from a person and he is acquitted of the charge, that property should be returned to him. But this rule is itself subject to several exceptions depending on the circumstances of each case and no accused person can also claim as of right, that the property seized from him should be returned to him.
Where the clear finding of the Magistrate was that the property was in possession of the complainant and that the accused persons took them away without permission and they were subsequently recovered from their possession by the police, the Magistrate is justified in directing the restoration of the property to the complainant.
8. The undisputed facts are that Prem Sagar was put into possession of the truck on 16-6-1969, and the truck was already released on 'Superdginama' by the learned Magistrate, Nasirabad, in favour of Prem Sagar. On 8-4-1970 when Shankar Lai took over the possession of the truck Prem Sagar was in possession of the truck. Shankar Lai claims to have taken possession of the truck on the allegations that he is the real owner of the truck, and that he has paid the money to- wards the purchase of the truck. The possession of the truck wa9 clearly with Prem Sagar on 8-4-1970, as detailed over. Having given serious and anxious consideration to the contentions of the learned Counsel for the parties, I have no hesitation in holding that Shankar Lai was not legally authorised to take law into his hands. The possession of the truck was given to Prem Sagar on 16-6-1969 by Ishak Ali, and the possession of the truck was later on handed over on 'Superdginama' by the learned Magistrate, Nasirabad. Even during the course of the trial before the learned Magistrate, Baran, the truck was handed over to Prem Sagar on 'Superdginama'. Shankar Lai has apparently taken custody and possession of the truck on the basis of his civil rights. In these criminal proceedings, intricate question of title and civil rights of the parties cannot be decided. The learned Addl. Sessions Judge, was, therefore, in my considered opinion, justified in ordering the restoration of possession of the truck to Prem Sagar.
9. For the reasons stated above, there is no force in this revision petition, which is hereby dismissed.