The Kerala High Court while dealing with a writ petition against the order passed by the Sessions Court stated that if contraband is recovered on a body search from a person driving the vehicle, it cannot be held that the vehicle was used for conveying the contraband.

A Single Bench of Justice A. Badharudeen while allowing the writ petition held –

"When a person who is driving a vehicle alone, found to be on suspicious circumstances, when searched, if contraband was taken from his body after complying the mandate under Section 50, it is not safe to hold that, the vehicle also has been used as conveyance so as to make the same as a subject matter of confiscation. In such circumstances, it has to be held that, the contraband was kept in secrecy by the accused in his body though he had travelled in the vehicle. Viewing so, it cannot be said that, in the present case, the vehicle has been used as conveyance and the vehicle is a subject matter of confiscation."

Advocate T. Sanjay represented the petitioner while Advocate G. Sudheer represented the respondent.

The writ petition had arisen out of the case in which the Special Judge dismissed an application filed by the petitioner who was the owner of a Maruti Car seeking a grant of interim custody of that car. The petitioner had contended that the vehicle was never used as a conveyance to transport the contraband and therefore, the same is not a subject matter of confiscation, and accordingly, the release of the said vehicle was sought. The Special Judge relied on the report of the Investigating Officer and found that the vehicle could not be released since the materials would suggest that the vehicle was used to convey the contraband, recovered from the accused. Hence, the petitioner approached High Court.

The crucial question before the High Court was "when the contraband was recovered on body search from a person who has been driving a vehicle, is it fair to hold that, the vehicle also has been used for the purpose of conveying the contraband?"

It was argued by the counsel for the respondent that when the accused while driving the car was searched doubting him, he was found possessing 0.06 grams of LSD stamp in the wallet kept in his pocket. Accordingly, he was nabbed and the LSD stamp was recovered, after complying with the mandate of Section 50 of the NDPS Act, since a body search was involved. It is true that the accused was intercepted while he was driving the car. It is on the said premise the prosecution would allege that the vehicle has been used as a conveyance.

The High Court, therefore, observed –

"In view of the matter, the learned Special Judge went wrong in dismissing the application. Therefore, Ext.P3 order stands set aside. Consequently the writ petition is allowed. The vehicle is ordered to be released on interim custody …"

Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition.

Cause Title – Wilson C.C v. State of Kerala

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