The police officer has the authority to seize certain property under Section 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, although it is not specifically stated that they may do so without a court warrant. Any property that is allegedly stolen, suspected to have been stolen, or that is discovered in circumstances that raise suspicions of criminal activity may be seized by a police officer.
Prior to discussing “whether property may be confiscated by a police officer, without the courts order,” it is important to comprehend the following concepts:
What is a seizure?
A seizure is the forcible act of a person with authority taking possession of property pursuant to legal process. A person is taken from the custody of property by an authorised authority suddenly or forcibly during a seizure if that property is illegally owned. A seizure occurs along with the search. The seizure has been authorised by all competent authorities. Courts, bailiffs, police officers, and occasionally tax committees may order a seizure.
What is property?
Real property has a broader definition. Despite the fact that the CrPC does not define property, many acts of legislation provide various definitions about the property. In layman’s terms, “property” refers to all types of property, including those that are moveable, immovable, tangible, and intangible
The Code of Criminal Procedure Section 102 –
Any police officer has the authority to confiscate any property that has been reported as stolen, is suspected of having been stolen, or is discovered in circumstances that give rise to criminal suspicion. Any police officer with a lower rank than the one in charge of the police station who seizes the item is required to report the incident to that officer. Each and every police officer who is subject to subsection (1) should be required to report the seizure to the magistrate with jurisdiction as soon as possible, as well as in situations where the property is of a type that prevents it from being transported to court, when it is difficult to secure the proper arrangement for its custody, or when its continued retention in police custody is not necessary for an investigation and may not be considered relevant for the investigation.
It also states that property seized under subsection (1) may be sold at auction right away on the superintendent of police’s orders if it is quickly degrading naturally, the owner is missing or unidentified, and its value is less than 500. For this procedure, the provisions defined in subsections 457 and 458 of the Criminal Procedure Code should be applied, as nearly as practically possible for the net proceeds of the lawsuit. The following section lists a few requirements that must be met: The police station chief or senior should be notified right away of the seizure if the arresting officer has a rank lower than inspector. The senior should thereafter be required to give the magistrate of that jurisdiction the report of the seized property. This Section states that the police have the discretion to confiscate property and does not require them to do so in every instance of robbery, theft, manslaughter, etc.
Nevada Properties Private Limited through Its Directors v. The State Of Maharashtra and Another (2019)
The question of whether “immovable property” might be taken under the provisions of Section 102 Cr.P.C. was brought before the Supreme Court. The case originated from a ruling by the Bombay High Court, which held that immovable property is not included in the term “any property” used in Section 102(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. As a result, a police officer conducting an investigation into a crime does not have the authority to seize any immovable property discovered in circumstances that raise suspicion of the commission of a crime. The Supreme Court’s Division Bench was presented with the issue. However, a mention of the Supreme Court’s three-judge bench was made in recognition of its gravity and magnitude.
The Supreme Court ruled that under Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code, police cannot seize immovable property. The term “seized” has been used to refer to really taking possession of the property, hence it only refers to mobile items. The interpretation that the police have the authority to evict a person from their place of employment and take possession of real property in order to confiscate it is not supported by the language of Section 102. If a police officer were granted such a benefit, it would give him the unbridled and unrestrained authority to seize property based solely on speculation or suspicion. A catastrophic situation could result from such an interpretation.
Rationale behind the decision
The purpose of S.102 is to aid in the investigation and give the police officer the ability to gather and compile information that will be used to support the complaint and support the charge in the charge sheet. The section is a portion of the rules governing police officer-led investigations. Following the filing of the charge sheet, the prosecution takes the lead and presents evidence to support the conviction. In and of it, Section 102 does not provide the police officer with the authority to confiscate property in the interest of justice and turn it over to the person the officer believes to be the lawful and true owner. According to the Apex Court, it is difficult to grant such judicial authority to the police because the seizure and attachment of property is a matter of trial and evidence. Police personnel were described by the court as investigators rather than judges or arbitrators. It was noted that the ability to attach, seize, and seal an immovable property would not fall under the definition of “any property” under Section 102 of the code.
Jurisprudential Aspect relating to Section 102
Police officers’ use of the authority entrusted to them by Section 102 is essential for a few aspects of the administration of justice.
The police officer takes the suspect’s transportable property out of the owner’s custody to protect it from further damage. To avoid obstructing the investigation of the property, this is done. The police officer taking control of the property is preferable since the investigation called for by this section also necessitates a comprehensive examination of the property. The definition of property in this provision includes drugs and contraband. Any property that adds to the evidence or helps the police conduct a thorough investigation of the crime may be seized by them.
A police officer has the authority to seize, affix, or seal a specific piece of property. And the CrPC recognizes this power as a legal right. The police officer has the authority to seize certain property under Section 102 of the CrPC. Any police officer has the authority to confiscate any property that is allegedly stolen, suspected to have been stolen, or that is discovered under circumstances that raise suspicions that an offence has been committed. The police officer may seize papers and documents with named references to immovable property under Section 102 of the CrPC, but not the actual immovable property itself.
Seizure and property https://lawcorner.in/which-property-may-be-seized-by-a-police-officer-without-the-courts-order/
Section 102 https://blog.ipleaders.in/power-of-police-to-seize-any-property-during-an-investigation/
Judicial Precedent https://www.rootsresource.in/portfolio/seizure-under-section-102-crpc/
Jurisprudential Aspect relating to Section 102 https://www.lawtendo.com/blogs/crpc-102#:~:text=Section%20102%2D%20Power%20of%20police,the%20commission%20of%20any%20offence
Rationale behind the decision https://www.mondaq.com/india/crime/969562/whether-seizure-of-an-immovable-property-falls-under-the-purview-of-s102-of-the-criminal-procedure-code-when-reference-is-made-to-any-property39
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