Expressing “shock” at the volume of articles kept in police custody after being seized as “case property”, the Delhi High Court has issued a slew of directions to ensure that the properties are disposed of according to provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
“This court is shocked to note the non-compliance of the well-settled principles of law for disposal of the case properties, which has resulted in accumulation of 2,86,741 case properties including 25,547 vehicles. Of these, as many as 2,479 properties are lying in public places outside police stations. The photographs filed by the Delhi Police along with the affidavit dated April 3, 2014, show the shocking state of affairs,” Justice J R Midha noted on Wednesday.
“When the property has no evidentiary value and only the value of the property is to be properly secured for passing of final order under Section 452 CrPC, the necessity of keeping such properties intact by imposing onerous conditions, prohibiting its alienation or transfer would not be necessary in law,” the court said, adding that photographs of case properties with detailed descriptions were admissible as evidence.
The court has now directed the SHOs of all police stations and investigating officers to “file applications and produce the case properties in police custody before the concerned court within one week…”.
The court had taken up the issue on a complaint by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee’s President, Manjit Singh, who was not allowed to sell his stolen vehicle, even after it had been recovered, as it was “evidence”.