The Allahabad High Court has directed the Home Department and Transport Department of Uttar Pradesh to develop a system whereby when an FIR is registered for the theft of a vehicle anywhere in the country, then the vehicle cannot be auctioned after recovery without the knowledge of the investigating authority of the concerned police station and the owner of the vehicle.
The Division Bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Vikram D. Chauhan passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Sunil Kumar @ Sunil Choudhary (In Person).
The petitioner is a practicing lawyer, who has come with the grievance that his motorcycle was stolen, for which he lodged a FIR in Police Station Shahganj, Prayagraj.
The FIR has been pending since 2015. It subsequently came to the petitioner’s knowledge that his stolen vehicle was found within the premises of the Police Station Daraganj. On further inquiry, it transpired that the vehicle was transferred in the name of one Suresh Pandey, and treating it to be a lost and found property, was auctioned. On a complaint made, an inquiry appears to have been instituted, but no action has been taken, and hence the writ petition.
The Court said that it would be a matter of inquiry as to how the case property in respect of FIR of the petitioner could be transferred without knowledge or notice to the earlier owner and how can such property be then treated as belonging to an unknown person and, thereafter, sold by police authorities.
The Court was of the view that some system would have to be evolved in which the stolen property anywhere in the country must be notified so that it is not transferred in the name of another person without knowledge of the investigating authority of the concerned police station and the owner of the vehicle.
The Court called upon the Departments of Home and Transport to examine the issue and to file their respective affidavits clearly specifying the mechanism evolved to deal with such a situation. The affidavit will be filed disclosing as to how the petitioner’s vehicle could be sold when an FIR was already lodged and the petitioner has not been informed that the vehicle has been traced elsewhere. The Court sought the state’s affidavit be filed within six weeks.