Case Property and its Disposal
Case property means a property regarding which an offence has been committed or which appears to have been used for commission of an offence and it also includes any property into or for which the same may have been committed or exchanged or anything acquired by such conversion or exchanged either immediately or otherwise.
Case property includes all sorts of properties. It does not relate only to moveable property, but u/s 511 it includes both moveable includes immoveable property (PLD 1963. Lah. 467)
Disposal Pending Trial
516 –A enables a magistrate to provide for the interim custody of goods pending the conclusion of the inquiry or trial. Before an order is made under this section three conditions must be fulfilled.
- Existence of reason to suppose that an offence has been committed.
- Production of property before Court.
- Pendency of inquiry or trial
Delivery of vehicle on superdari is meant primarily for the purpose of protection property and to prevent further deterioration and same cannot be used as proof of ownership. If no rival claimant for superdari of vehicle has come, then vehicle should have ordinarily be given on superdari to the person, from whom its possession it was taken by police.
Notice to prosecution
It is obligatory to give notice and also to hear prosecution when a superdari applications entertained by a magistrate order without notice would be liable to be set aside.
(2001 SCMR 795)
Giving property on superdari
Judicial discretion can be exercised for release of vehicle temporarily on superdari in view of well settled principle that if a court can grant final relief it also possesses inherent jurisdiction to grant interim relief.
In the matter where valuable and perishable property is involved or where there is property that can be misused damaged or its utility is likely to be diminished in such situations courts should be more vigilant and on guard to save the property from devastation. Clause (1) f S. 516-A provides that if the property is subject to speedy or natural decay. The court may after recording such evidence as it thinks necessary, order it to be sold or otherwise disposed of.
Magistrate having passed a lawful order u/s 516-A Cr.P.C is left with no jurisdiction to cancel his own order of to pass a fresh order in suppression of his earlier orders. However, trial court is competent to cancel superdari if superdar fails to produce case property is court.
Disposal After Trial
S. 517 provides that after the conclusion of the inquiry or trial, the court way make an order for the disposal by destruction, confiscation or delivery to any person of any property or document produced before it or in its custody or regarding which any offence appears to have been committed or which has been used for the commission of any offence. The essential ingredients for the application of S. 517 are as follow:
- There must have been an inquiry or trial.
- The same must have been concluded, and
- The property in respect of which the order is to be made must be one which has been produced before the court, or
- Which is in its custody, or
- Regarding which any offence appears to have been committed,
- Which has been used for the commission of any offence.
It is therefore, clear that the result of the inquiry or trial is immaterial for the purpose of attracting the provisions of S.517 Cr.P.C. An order can be passed under this section to the delivery of the property to any person claiming to be entitled to possession thereof, irrespective of the fact that the inquiry or trial has resulted in the discharge or acquittal of the accused provided that the other conditions specified in this section are fulfilled. (PLD 1959 Lah. 141)
Determination of ownership
Order of disposal of property u/s 517 Cr.P.C, does not create any right in property; question of title if any should be left to be decided by ordinary civil court of competent jurisdiction.
Discretion of the court
u/s 517 the court has discretion with respect to disposal of property, and can under circumstances order the property to be given to a person other than one to whose possession it was found even though that man may not have been found guilty. However, court while making disposal of property at the conclusion of trial must exercise is discretion in a judicial manner and not arbitrarily.