The Power Under Section 451 Cr.P.C. Should Be Exercised Expeditiously AND Judiciously.

Civil Law


Chetanbhai Vasantbhai Mystery


State of Gujarat

“It is obvious from the above legal scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure that, in the matter of disposal of property, the Criminal Court is invested with wide discretion and the guiding principle is that the property should be delivered to the person who is entitled to the possession thereof and, if such person cannot be ascertained, the Court has to make appropriate order in respect of the custody and disposal of such property.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 being the law relating to Criminal Procedure, it can be presumed to be primarily concerned with fair trial of the criminal case before it and other matters incidental thereto and cannot be presumed to invest the Court with the power of deciding issues of title to the property regarding which an offense appeared to have been committed, or which appeared to have been used for the commission of any offense. The task of exercising discretion by the Criminal Court in such circumstances is easier at the end of the trial. But pending trial it can be hazardous to decide the issue of entitlement. The emphasis has, therefore, to be laid on the phrase: “entitled to possession thereof”

Therefore, the related question that can be addressed at the pretrial stage should be restricted to entitlement to the possession of the property and possible consequences of handing over the possession to a party who appears to be entitled to it can be taken care of by imposing suitable conditions. If the question of title remains in controversy even at the end of the trial, the course adopted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Rajalingam v. Vangala Venkata Rama Chary [1977 Cri. L.J. 575] relying upon Muthiah Muthirian v. Vairaperumal Muthirian [AIR 1954 Madras 214], maybe the proper cause, viz. to direct the parties to establish their claim over the properties before the Civil Court…”

Smt. Basava Kom Dyamogouda Patil


The state of Mysore and another

“A production before the Court does not mean physical custody or possession by the Court but includes even control exercised by the Court by passing an order regarding the custody of the articles. In the instant case when once the Magistrate, after having been informed that the articles were produced before the Court, directed the Sub-Inspector to keep them with him in safe custody, to get them verified and valued by a goldsmith, the articles were undoubtedly produced before the Court and became custodia legis.

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