ISLAMABAD: The capital police have ‘unlawfully’ retained more than 900 tampered and unclaimed vehicles, according to a report submitted to Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the police legal department.

These vehicles are being used by police and other government departments, it said.

The IHC has sought a report on the usage of the unclaimed and tampered vehicles.

As per Section 524 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the police were supposed to auction these vehicles within six months of their confiscation.

Police legal wing submits report to IHC, says vehicles had not been auctioned

The section explains: “If no person within [six months] establishes his claim to such property; and if the person in whose possession such property was found, is unable to show that it was legally acquired by him, such property shall be at the disposal of the provincial government and may be sold under the orders of [magistrate of the first class] empowered by the provincial government in this behalf.”

The disclosure about the unlawfully retained vehicles was made during the hearing of a petition by IHC Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri. The petition was filed by Sher Alam, seeking superdari of a vehicle.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (legal) Sajid Cheema stated that “tampered and unclaimed vehicles are liable to be auctioned within a period of six months under Section 524 CrPC. At present, more than 900 vehicles are in possession of Islamabad police which are liable to be auctioned.”

He, however, did not know when last time the process of auction had taken place.

Justice Jahangiri directed the official to file a comprehensive report within two weeks stating how many tampered and unclaimed vehicles/motorcycles were in custody of the police and by whom and under which authority these vehicles/motorcycles were being used.

The judge also inquired “when last time the auction proceedings were conducted, who is responsible for causing loss to public exchequer for not conducting auction proceedings within a period of six months by committing violation of law.”

The petitioner had initially approached a civil judge for superdari of a vehicle. The civil judge dismissed his petition after which he challenged the order before the district and sessions judge.

After dismissal of the petitions from both the forums, Mr Alam approached the IHC.

Before IHC Justice Jahangiri, the petitioner contended that he was a bona fide purchaser of the vehicle in question and as per record of the Excise and Taxation Office (ETO), Hazrat Gul was its registered owner.

Mr Gul stated that he had no objection over the release of the vehicle on superdari to the petitioner.

However, the police were reluctant to provide the vehicle to the petitioner.

In the past, there was a practice of distribution of unclaimed vehicles among senior officials of the local administration, police and district judiciary.

The IHC in 2012 directed the district and sessions judge, chief commissioner and the inspector general of police Islamabad to take action against judges and senior officials of the local administration and police who illegally obtained unclaimed cars on superdari from the police.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2022

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