General miscellaneous provisions of Crpc:-
Requirement of age in a warrant which authorises detention:
Supreme Court of India
Sanjay Suri & Anr vs Delhi Administration, Delhi & Anr on 9 December, 1987
We call upon every Magistrate or trial Judge authorised to issue warrants for detention of prisoners to ensure that every warrant authorising detention specifies the age of the person to be detained. Judicial mind must be applied in cases where there is doubt about the age-not necessarily by a trial-and every warrant must specify the age of the person to be detained. We call upon the authorities in the jails throughout India not to accept any warrant of detention as a valid one unless the age of the detenu is shown therein. By this order of ours, we make it clear that it shall be open to the jail authorities to refuse to honour a warrant if the age of the person remanded to jail custody is not indicated. It would be lawful for such officers to refer back the warrant to the issuing court for rectifying the defect before it is honoured. Since it will create problems in keeping the undertrial or the prisoner during the intervening period, the judicial officer should realise his responsibility in accepting this direction and giving full effect to it. In exceptional cases, when the warrant is referred back for rectification, the person covered by the warrant may be kept at the most for a week pending rectification, and taking responsibility of the situation. On the basis of the age indicated in the warrant, it shall be the obligation of the jail authorities to find out, so far as Delhi is concerned, whether the prisoner covered by the warrant should be detained in the Tihar Jail or in the Juvenile Jail.
In Omwati v.State of UP & Another (2004) 4 SCC 425, this court dealt with a rather unusual matter wherein the High Court firstly issued bailable warrants against the appellant and thereafter by issuing non-bailable warrants put the complainant of the case behind bars without going through the facts of the case. This Court observed that the unfortunate sequel of such unmindful orders has been that the appellant was taken into custody and had to remain in jail for a few days, but without any justification whatsoever. She suffered because facts of the case were not considered in proper perspective before passing the orders. The court also observed that some degree of care is supposed to be taken before issuing warrants.
In State of U.P. v. Poosu & Another (1976) 3 SCC 1 at para 13 page 5, the Court observed:
Whether in the circumstances of the case, the attendance of the accused respondent can be best secured by issuing a bailable warrant or non- bailable warrant, is a matter which rests entirely in the discretion of the court. Although, the discretion is exercised judiciously, it is not possible to computerize and reduce into immutable formulae the diverse considerations on the basis of which this discretion is exercised. Broadly speaking, the court would take into account the various factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offence, the character of the evidence, circumstances peculiar to the accused, possibility of his absconding, larger interest of the public and the State.
Personal liberty and the interest of the State Civilized countries have recognized that liberty is the most precious of all the human rights. The American Declaration of Independence 1776, French Declaration of the Rights of Men and the Citizen 1789, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1966 all speak with one voice - liberty is the natural and inalienable right of every human being. Similarly, Article 21 of our Constitution proclaims that no one shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.
The issuance of non-bailable warrants involves interference with personal liberty. Arrest and imprisonment means deprivation of the most precious right of an individual. Therefore, the courts have to be extremely careful before issuing non-bailable warrants.
Just as liberty is precious for an individual so is the interest of the society in maintaining law and order. Both are extremely important for the survival of a civilized society. Sometimes in the larger interest of the Public and the State it becomes absolutely imperative to curtail freedom of an individual for a certain period, only then the non-bailable warrants should be issued.
When non-bailable warrants should be issued Non-bailable warrant should be issued to bring a person to court when summons of bailable warrants would be unlikely to have the desired result. This could be when: * it is reasonable to believe that the person will not voluntarily appear in court; or * the police authorities are unable to find the person to serve him with a summon;
or * it is considered that the person could harm someone if not placed into custody immediately.
As far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the accused in the court, the summon or the bailable warrants should be preferred. The warrants either bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind, due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications which ensue on issuance of warrants. The court must very carefully examine whether the Criminal Complaint or FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive.
In complaint cases, at the first instance, the court should direct serving of the summons along with the copy of the complaint. If the accused seem to be avoiding the summons, the court, in the second instance should issue bailable- warrant. In the third instance, when the court is fully satisfied that the accused is avoiding the courts proceeding intentionally, the process of issuance of the non-bailable warrant should be resorted to. Personal liberty is paramount, therefore, we caution courts at the first and second instance to refrain from issuing non-bailable warrants.
The power being discretionary must be exercised judiciously with extreme care and caution. The court should properly balance both personal liberty and societal interest before issuing warrants. There cannot be any straight-jacket formula for issuance of warrants but as a general rule, unless an accused is charged with the commission of an offence of a heinous crime and it is feared that he is likely to tamper or destroy the evidence or is likely to evade the process of law, issuance of non-bailable warrants should be avoided.
The Court should try to maintain proper balance between individual liberty and the interest of the public and the State while issuing non-bailable warrant. (Supreme Court of India
Inder Mohan Goswami & Another vs State Of Uttaranchal & Others on 9 October, 2007)
Warrant to be issued after application of judicial mind :
Supreme Court of India
Raghuvansh Dewanchand Bhasin vs State Of Maharashtra & Anr on 9 September, 2011
As far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the accused in the court, the summon or the bailable warrants should be preferred. The warrants either bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind, due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications which ensue on issuance of warrants. The court must very carefully examine whether the criminal complaint or FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive.
In complaint cases, at the first instance, the court should direct serving of the summons along with the copy of the complaint. If the accused seem to be avoiding the summons, the court, in the second instance should issue bailable warrant. In the third instance, when the court is fully satisfied that the accused is avoiding the court's proceeding intentionally, the process of issuance of the non-bailable warrant should be resorted to. Personal liberty is paramount, therefore, we caution courts at the first and second instance to refrain from issuing non-bailable warrants.
We deferentially concur with these directions, and emphasize that since these directions flow from the right to life and personal liberty, enshrined in Articles 21 and 22(1) of our Constitution, they need to be strictly complied with. However, we may hasten to add that these are only broad guidelines and not rigid rules of universal application when facts and behavioral patterns are bound to differ from case to case. Since discretion in this behalf is entrusted with the court, it is not advisable to lay down immutable formulae on the basis whereof discretion could be exercised. As aforesaid, it is for the court concerned to assess the situation and exercise discretion judiciously, dispassionately and without prejudice.
The last issue raised that remains to be considered is whether the Courts can at all issue a warrant, called a "non-bailable" warrant because no such terminology is found in the Code as well as in Form 2 of the Second Schedule to the Code. It is true that neither Section 70 nor Section 71, appearing in Chapter VI of the Code, enumerating the processes to compel appearance, as also Form 2 uses the expression like "non-bailable". Section 70 merely speaks of form of warrant of arrest, and ordains that it will remain in force until it is cancelled. Similarly Section 71 talks of discretionary power of Court to specify about the security to be taken in case the person is to be released on his arrest pursuant to the execution of the warrant issued under Section 70 of the Code. Sub-section (2) of Section 71 of the Code specifies the endorsements which can be made on a warrant. Nevertheless, we feel that the endorsement of the expression "non-bailable" on a warrant is to facilitate the executing authority as well as the person against whom the warrant is sought to be executed to make them aware as to the nature of the warrant that has been issued.
Following guidelines to be adopted in all cases where non-bailable warrants are issued by the Courts:-
(a) All the High Court shall ensure that the Subordinate Courts use printed and machine numbered Form No.2 for issuing warrant of arrest and each such form is duly accounted for;
(b) Before authenticating, the court must ensure that complete particulars of the case are mentioned on the warrant;
(c) The presiding Judge of the court (or responsible officer specially authorized for the purpose in case of High Courts) issuing the warrant should put his full and legible signatures on the process, also ensuring that Court seal bearing complete particulars of the Court is prominently endorsed thereon;
(d) The Court must ensure that warrant is directed to a particular police officer (or authority) and, unless intended to be open-ended, it must be returnable whether executed or unexecuted, on or before the date specified therein;
(e) Every Court must maintain a register (in the format given below), in which each warrant of arrest issued must be entered chronologically and the serial number of such entry reflected on the top right hand of the process;
(f) No warrant of arrest shall be issued without being entered in the register mentioned above and the concerned court shall periodically check/monitor the same to confirm that every such process is always returned to the court with due report and placed on the record of the concerned case;
(g) A register similar to the one in clause (e) supra shall be maintained at the concerned police station. The Station House Officer of the concerned Police Station shall ensure that each warrant of arrest issued by the Court, when received is duly entered in the said register and is formally entrusted to a responsible officer for execution;
(h) Ordinarily, the Courts should not give a long time for return or execution of warrants, as experience has shown that warrants are prone to misuse if they remain in control of executing agencies for long;
(i) On the date fixed for the return of the warrant, the Court must insist upon a compliance report on the action taken thereon by the Station House Officer of the concerned Police Station or the Officer In-charge of the concerned agency;
(j) The report on such warrants must be clear, cogent and legible and duly forwarded by a superior police officer, so as to facilitate fixing of responsibility in case of misuse;
(k) In the event of warrant for execution beyond jurisdiction of the Court issuing it, procedure laid down in Sections 78 and 79 of the Code must be strictly and scrupulously followed; and
(l) In the event of cancellation of the arrest warrant by the Court, the order cancelling warrant shall be recorded in the case file and the register maintained. A copy thereof shall be sent to the concerned authority, requiring the process to be returned unexecuted forthwith. The date of receipt of the unexecuted warrant will be entered in the aforesaid registers. A copy of such order shall also be supplied to the accused.
TRANSIT BAIL , GENERALLY NOT TO BE GRANTED IN SERIOUS OFFENCES AND IT SHOULD NEVER BE FOR UNDULY LONG PERIOD :
Delhi High Court
Suraj Pal vs Vijay Chauhan & Ors. on 8 July, 2015
At the hearing, learned counsel for petitioner-complainant had submitted that in a serious offence of dowry death, grant of transit bail is wholly unjustified. It was pointed out by learned counsel for petitioner- complainant that the transit bail was initially granted for three weeks to respondent-accused and the same was illegally extended vide impugned order of 25th June, 2015 (Annexure P-3) for fifteen days and the said period of fifteen days is coming to end on 10th July, 2015.
"Apex Court in Jai Prakash Singh v. State of Bihar, (2012) 4 SCC 379 has reiterated that nature and gravity of the offence has to be taken into consideration. Without considering the nature and gravity of the offence in question, transit bail has been granted for inordinate period of three weeks and not only this, it has been extended by another two weeks. Granting transit bail for such an inordinately long period amounts to virtually granting pre-arrest bail. Impugned orders do not provide any justification for granting transit bail for such a long period. The nature and gravity of the offence has not been considered. The discretion to grant transit bail has been exercised by the learned Additional Sessions Judge in a most inappropriate manner, which needs to be deprecated."
This Court is constrained to note that after regular bail has been refused to respondent-accused by the Sessions Court in U.P., grant of transit bail to enable respondent-accused to approach the High Court of Allahabad cannot be justified from any point of view.
The District & Sessions Judge (Hqs.) Central, Delhi shall ensure that this order is forthwith circulated in all the District Courts so that transit bail is not granted in serious offences in routine and in manner in which it has been granted in the instant case.
This petition and the application are disposed of while deprecating the impugned orders as it would be futile to stay the operation of the impugned order because it is coming to end within next 48 hours. However, the concerned court be apprised of this order within 24 hours so further application for extension is not entertained.
illegal order of attachment under section 83 , will vitiate the order :-
Delhi High Court
Rohit Kumar @ Raju S/O Late Sh. Om ... vs State Of Nct Delhi Throgugh The ... on 5 October, 2007
The sine qua non for an action under Section 82 is the prior issuance of warrant of arrest by the Court. There must be a report before the Magistrate that the person against whom the warrant was issued by him had absconded or had been concealing himself so that such warrant can be issued. An attachment warrant can be issued only after the issuance of proclamation.
The expression 'reason to believe' occurring in Section 82 Cr.P.C. suggests that the Court must be subjectively satisfied that the person has absconded or has concealed himself on the materials before him. The term 'absconded' is not to be understood as implying necessarily that a person leaves the place in which he is. Its etymological and its ordinary sense is to hide oneself. Further, under Section 82 Cr.P.C. the Court issuing proclamation must record its satisfaction that accused had 'absconded' or 'concealed himself.'
The three Clauses (a), (b), and (c) of Sub-section (2) (i) of Section 82 Cr.P.C. are conjuctive and not disjunctive. The factum of valid publication depends on the satisfaction of each of these clauses. Clause (ii) of Sub-section (2) is optional; it is not an alternative to Clause (1). The latter clause is mandatory.
The procedure laid down under Section 83 has to be followed strictly. Jurisdiction to pass attachment order cannot be assumed unless a proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C. has been issued. The normal rule is that the Court has to wait until the expiry of 30 days, to enable the accused to appear in terms of the proclamation. The words 'at any time after the issue of proclamation' are not to be interpreted in isolation. The key for gathering the intention of the law makers is to be found in Section 82 Cr.P.C. Sections 82 and 83 Cr.P.C. are to be read in harmony. Thus except in cases covered by the proviso to Section 82(1) the attachment order has to maintain a distance of not less than 30 days from the date of the publication under Section 82. The words 'at any time' in Section 83(1) only mean that if after the issue of proclamation either of the two conditions mentioned in Clauses (a) and (b) of the proviso to Section 83(1) come into existence, an order of attachment may be made without waiting for 30 days to expire. Even in such a case the Court has to record its reasons for arriving at the judicial satisfaction that such conditions as mentioned in the proviso to have come into existence.
So, proclamation issued under Section 82 Cr.P.C. by the trial court is against the mandatory provisions of law and the same was invalid, consequently, proclamation issued under Section 83 Cr.P.C. also become void.
( Additional Sessions Judge in this case ignored the law laid down by the High court which resulted in severe strictures being passed against him)
High court further elaborated:
"There is no gain saying the fact that the disobedience or disregard of the law laid down by the High Court by the subordinate courts is not only against the very concept of rule of law but also verges on the contempt of court as subordinate courts are, by way of constitutional provision, bound by the decision of the local High Court as is every court of the country including the High Courts, bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court by virtue of provisions of Article 141 of the Constitution. If the subordinate courts start ignoring the law laid down by their High Courts and start acting contrary thereto, then not only the legal anarchy will set in but the democratic structure of the country, rule of law and concept of liberty of citizens will be the first casualty."
provision as to search and seizure (these orders are revisable if they are illegal and magistrate has acted illegally)
section 91 (this provision cannot be used against an accused to present self incriminating evidence )
Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in Shyamlal Mohanlal v. State of Gujarat on 14 December, 1964 :
In that case appellant Shyamlal Mohanlal was a licensed money- lender and according to the provisions of the relevant Money Lending Act and Rules he was under an obligation to maintain books. He was prosecuted for failing to maintain books in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the Rules. The police prosecutor incharge of the case on behalf of the prosecution presented an application requesting the Court to order the appellant Shyamlal Mohanlal to produce daily book and ledger for a certain year. Presumably it was a request to issue summons as contemplated by s. 94 of the old Code. The Learned Magistrate rejected the request on the ground that in so doing the guarantee of immunity from self- incrimination would be violated. The matter ultimately came to this Court and the question that was put in forefront before the Court was whether the expression 'person' in s. 94(1) which is the same as s. 91(1) of the new Code (the current crpc of 1973), comprehends within its sweep a person accused of an offence and if it does, whether an issue of summons to produce a document in his possession or power would violate the immunity against self-incrimination guaranteed by Article 20(3). The majority opinion handed down by Sikri, J. ruled that s. 94(1) (Now 91 (1) of the new Cr.PC) upon its true construction does not apply to an accused person. Whatever that may be, it is indisputable that according to the majority opinion the expression 'person' in s. 91(1) (new Code) does not take within its sweep a person accused of an offence which would mean that a summons issued to an accused person to produce a thing or document considered necessary or desirable for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry or trial would imply compulsion and the document or thing so produced would be compelled testimony and would be violative of the constitutional immunity against self-incrimination.
In view of the decision in Shyamlal Mohanlal's case (supra) one must proceed on the basis that a summons to produce a thing or document as contemplated by s. 91(1) cannot be issued to a person accused of an offence calling upon him to produce document or thing considered necessary or desirable for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Supreme Court of India
V. S. Kuttan Pillai vs Ramakrishnan & Anr on 18 September, 1979
If summons as hereinbefore discussed cannot be issued to an accused person under s. 91(1), ipso facto a search warrant contemplated by s. 93(1) (a) cannot be issued by the Court for the obvious reason that it can only be issued where the Court could have issued a summons but would not issue the same under the apprehension that the person to whom such summons is issued will not or would not produce the thing as required by such summons or requisition. A search warrant under s. 93(1)(a) could only be issued where a summons could have been issued under s. 91(1) but the same would not be issued on an apprehension that the person, to whom the summons is directed would not comply with the same and, therefore, in order to obtain the document or thing to produce which the summons was to be. issued, a search warrant may be issued under s. 93 (1) (a) .
Section 93(1) (b) comprehends a situation where a search warrant may be issued to procure a document or thing not known to the Court to be in the possession of any person. In other words, a general search warrant may be issued to procure the document or thing and it can be recovered from any person who may be ultimately found in possession of it and it was not known to the Court that the person from whose possession it was found was in possession of it.
Section 93(1) (c) of the new Code comprehends a situation where the Court may issue a search warrant when it considers that the purpose of an inquiry, trial or other proceeding under the Code will be served by a general search or inspection to search, seize and produce the documents mentioned in the list. When such a general search warrant is issued, in execution of it the premises even in possession of the accused can be searched and documents found therein can be seized irrespective of the fact that the documents may contain some statement made by the accused upon his personal knowledge and which when proved may have the tendency to incriminate the accused. However, such a search and seizure pursuant to a search warrant issued under s. 93(1) (c) will not have even the remotest tendency to compel the accused to incriminate himself. He is expected to do nothing. He is not required to participate in the search. He may remain a passive spectator. He may even remain absent. Search can be conducted under the authority of such warrant in the presence of the accused. Merely because he is occupying the premises which is to be searched under the authority of the search warrant it cannot even remotely be said that by such search and consequent seizure of documents including the documents which may contain statements attributable to the personal knowledge of the accused and which may have tendency to incriminate him, would violate the constitutional guarantee against self- incrimination because he is not compelled to do anything. A passive submission to search cannot be styled as a compulsion on the accused to submit to search and if anything is recovered during search which may provide incriminating evidence against the accused it cannot be styled as compelled testimony. This is too obvious to need any precedent in support. The immunity against self- crimination extends to any incriminating evidence which the accused may be compelled to give. It does not extend to cover such situation as where evidence which may have tendency to incriminate the accused is being collected without in any manner compelling him or asking him to be a party to the collection of the evidence. Search of the premises occupied by the accused without the accused being compelled to be a party to such search would not be violative of the constitutional guarantee enshrined in Article 20(3).
Section 93(1)(c) comprehends a situation where a search warrant can be issued as the Court is unaware of not only the person but even the place where the documents may be found and that a general search is necessary. One cannot, therefore, cut down the power of the Court under s. 93(1) (c) by importing into it some of the requirements of s. 93(1)(b). No canon of construction would permit such an erosion of power of the Court to issue a general search warrant. It also comprehends not merely a general search but even an inspection meaning thereby inspection of a place and a general search thereof and seizure of documents or things which the Court considers necessary or desirable for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceeding under the Code. The High Court accordingly sustained the general search warrant in this case under s. 93(1)(c).
The importance of setting out the grounds of the opinion of the Government was reiterated by the Supreme Court in a judgment of two Learned Judges in Narayan Das v. State of Madhya Pradesh, . In that case, the Government had passed an order under Section 4 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1961 which empowered it to declare any newspaper or book as defined in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 or any other document wherever printed, to be forfeited to Government if it appeared to Government that the said book, questioned the territorial integrity or frontiers of India in a manner which was or was likely to be prejudicial to the interests of the safety or security of India. The appellant before the High Court had published a book on Geography for students of the Secondary School Standards. The Supreme Court referred to the fact that from the communication of the State Government, it appeared that Government had taken objection to the fact that the book contained certain wrong maps of the territorial borders of the Country. The High Court had upheld the order of forfeiture passed by the State Government. Allowing the appeal and setting aside the order of forfeiture, the Supreme Court held that the notification was vitiated upon a failure of the Government to state the grounds of its opinion and a mere reference to the words of the statute would not fulfil the statutory requirement of setting out those grounds :
"According to the Oxford Dictionary the meaning of the word 'ground' in this connection must be "base, foundation, motive valid reason". What the State Government did in this case in the opening paragraph of the order was merely to quote a portion of words of Section 2 namely that the books "questioned the territorial integrity and frontiers of India in a manner which is likely to be prejudicial to the interest of the safety or security of India." The order gives no indication of the facts or the statements or the representations contained in the book which according to the State Government offend Section 2. In the order itself there is no reference to any map or any text in the book which would come within the mischief of the said section."
The grounds, the Supreme Court held, must be distinguished from the opinion. The grounds constitute the conclusion of fact on which an opinion is based :
'There is a considerable body of statutory provisions which enable the State to curtail the liberty of the subject in the interest of the security of the State or forfeit books and documents when in the opinion of the Government, they promote class hatred, religious intolerance, disaffection against the State etc. In all such cases, instances of some whereof are given below the State Government has to give the grounds of its opinion. Clearly the grounds must be distinguished from the opinion. Grounds of the opinion must mean the conclusion of facts on which the opinion is based. There can be no conclusion of fact which has no reference to or is not ex facie based on any fact."
Can lacunae in law be filled by providing reasons in supplementary affidavits by government ?
Bombay High Court
Anand Chintamani Dighe And Anr. vs State Of Maharashtra And Ors. on 9 October, 2001
In view of the well settled position in law, the lacunae in the impugned notification could not have been permitted to be supplemented in affidavits filed in these proceedings.
But, what the affidavit which have been filed by the State Government would establish is that there was absolutely no material before the State Government on the basis of which it formed the opinion that the material contained in the play was such as would amount to offences punishable under Sections 153-A and 295-A of the Penal Code. The exercise of the power of forfeiture under Section 95 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973, cannot be justified except on the basis of a compliance with the conditions set out therein. The power of forfeiture which has been conferred by the Code upon the State Government is a drastic power, the exercise of which has to be strictly conditioned by due observance of the requirements of Section 95. Section 95 does not empower the State Government to issue an order of forfeiture merely because it apprehends "that a law and order situation" may arise due to the opposition of a segment of the society to the message which is sought to be conveyed in the play.
The right to publish, is itself a facet of the right to the freedom of speech guaranteed to all citizens under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The power under Section 95 of the Code, therefore, being in the nature of an extraordinary power, must be used with care and circumspection, as it constitutes an inroad into the enjoyment of the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and, as such, the conditions for exercising this power must be rigidly adhered to. Section 95 of the Code requires that the State Govt. while taking action under that section, must specifically set out not only the opinion but the grounds of its opinion as well to forfeit and seize the documents.
The procedure must be strictly followed by the State Government or its delegatees while taking action under Section 95 of the Code.
whether bank accounts can be seized under section 102 ?
Supreme Court of India
State Of Maharashtra vs Tapas D. Neogy on 16 September, 1999
A plain reading of sub-section(1) of Section 102 indicates that the Police Officer has the power to seize any property which may be found under circumstances creating suspicion of the commission of any offence. The legislature having used the expression "any property" and "any offence" have made the applicability of the provisions wide enough to cover offences created under any Act. But the two pre- conditions for applicability of Section 102(1) are that it must be `property' and secondly, in respect of the said property there must have suspicion of commission of any offence. In this view of the matter the two further questions that arise for consideration are whether the bank account of an accused or of his relation can be said to be `property' within the meaning of sub-section(1) of Section 102 of the Cr.P.C. and secondly, whether circumstances exist, creating suspicion of commission of any offence in relation to the same.
Having considered the divergent views taken by different High Courts with regard to the power of seizure under Section 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and whther the bank account can be held to be `property' within the meaning of said Section 102(1), we see no justification to give any narrow interpretation to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is well known that corruption in public offices has become so rampant that it has become difficult to cope up with the same. Then again the time consumed by the Courts in concluding the trials is another factor which should be borne in mind in interpreting the provisions of Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the underlying object engrafted therein, inasmuch as if there can be no order of seizure of the bank account of the accused then the entire money deposited in a bank which is ultimately held in the trial to be the outcome of the illegal gratification, could be withdrawn by the accused and the Courts would be powerless to get the said money which has any direct link with the commission of the offence committed by the accused as a public officer. We are, therefore, persuaded to take the view that the bank account of the accused or any of his relation is `property' within the meaning of Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code and a police officer in course of investigation can seize or prohibit the operation of the said account if such assets have direct links with the commission of the offence for which the police officer is investigating into. The contrary view expressed by Karnataka, Gauhati and Allahabad High Courts, does not represent the correct law.
whether immovable property can be seized under section 102 ?
Supreme Court of India
Nevada Properties Pvt. Ltd. ... vs The State Of Maharashtra on 24 September, 2019
Section 102 postulates seizure of the property. Immovable property cannot, in its strict sense, be seized, though documents of title, etc. relating to immovable property can be seized, taken into custody and produced. Immovable property can be attached and also locked/sealed. It could be argued that the word ‘seize’ would include such action of attachment and sealing. Seizure of immovable property in this sense and manner would in law require dispossession of the person in occupation/possession of the immovable property, unless there are no claimants, which would be rare. Language of Section 102 of the Code does not support the interpretation that the police officer has the power to dispossess a person in occupation and take possession of an immovable property in order to seize it. In the absence of the Legislature conferring this express or implied power under Section 102 of the Code to the police officer, we would hesitate and not hold that this power should be inferred and is implicit in the power to effect seizure. Equally important, for the purpose of Criminal Appeal arising out of interpretation is the scope and object of Section 102 of the Code, which is to help and assist investigation and to enable the police officer to collect and collate evidence to be produced to prove the charge complained of and set up in the charge sheet. The Section is a part of the provisions concerning investigation undertaken by the police officer. After the charge sheet is filed, the prosecution leads and produces evidence to secure conviction. Section 102 is not, per se, an enabling provision by which the police officer acts to seize the property to do justice and to hand over the property to a person whom the police officer feels is the rightful and true owner. This is clear from the objective behind Section 102, use of the words in the Section and the scope and ambit of the power conferred on the Criminal Court vide Sections 451 to 459 of the Code. The expression ‘circumstances which create suspicion of the commission of any offence’ in Section 102 does not refer to a firm opinion or an adjudication/finding by a police officer to ascertain whether or not ‘any property’ is required to be seized. The word ‘suspicion’ is a weaker and a broader expression than ‘reasonable belief’ or ‘satisfaction’. The police officer is an investigator and not an adjudicator or a decision maker.
Disputes relating to title, possession, etc., of immovable property are civil disputes which have to be decided and adjudicated in Civil Courts. We must discourage and stall any attempt to convert civil disputes into criminal cases to put pressure on the other side
Thus, it will not be proper to hold that Section 102 of the Code empowers a police officer to seize immovable property, land, plots, residential houses, streets or similar properties. Given the nature of criminal litigation, such seizure of an immovable property by the police officer in the form of an attachment and dispossession would not facilitate investigation to collect evidence/material to be produced during inquiry and trial.
This, however, would not bar or prohibit the police officer from seizing documents/ papers of title relating to immovable property, as it is distinct and different from seizure of immovable property. Disputes and matters relating to the physical and legal possession and title of the property must be adjudicated upon by a Civil Court.
In view of the aforesaid discussion, the Reference is answered by holding that the power of a police officer under Section 102 of the Code to seize any property, which may be found under circumstances that create suspicion of the commission of any offence, would not include the power to attach, seize and seal an immovable property