Having found that the vehicle is lying in the court premises exposed to sun and rain for the last so many months, the Kerala High Court directed the Magistrate to release the car to the Petitioner on imposing such conditions as he deems fit to impose.

The Bench of Justice Kauser Edappagath observed that "the fact that the vehicle was used for the commission of the offence and that scientific evidence was collected from inside the car, are not grounds to reject the application for interim custody of the vehicle".

Advocate K. Rakesh appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Rekha S. appeared for the Respondent.

In a brief background, the car belonging to the Petitioner was seized in connection with the offence under Section 302 of IPC, since, according to the prosecution, the car was used for the commission of the crime. The petitioner filed a criminal miscellaneous petition for the release of the car under Section 451 of CrPC, which was however dismissed on two grounds; namely that since the car was used for the commission of the offence, its identification is necessary at the time of trial, and important scientific evidence was collected from the interior part of the car. Hence, the present petition.

After considering the submissions, the Bench took note of the decision of the Apex Court in Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat [(2022) 10 SCC 283], wherein it was held that the vehicle seized during the investigation proceedings should not be allowed to be kept in the custody of the court till the culmination of the proceedings, but it has to be released to the person, who is entitled to its custody, by imposing conditions.

Therefore, observing that adequate conditions can be imposed to ensure the production of the car at the time of trial, if necessary, the Bench set aside the order passed by the Magistrate and directed him to release the car.

Cause Title: Yahya M. v. State of Kerala and Anr.

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