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Police can't seize property during investigation: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that police has no power to seize immovable property during an investigation.

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that police has no power to seize immovable property during an investigation.

Upholding the Bombay High Court order, the apex court, however, made it clear that its ruling would not bar or prohibit the police officer from seizing documents and papers of title relating to immovable property, as it is distinct and different from seizure of immovable property.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had heard the matter relating to powers of the police under section 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in respect of seizure of property during investigation.

The court was hearing Maharashtra government plea challenging a Bombay High Court order which held that the police has no power to seize property during the course of an ongoing probe.

The ruling was announced by the bench of Justices Gupta and Khanna.

"Section 102 of the Code is not a general provision which enables and authorises the police officer to seize immovable property for being able to be produced in the criminal court during trial," the court said in its order.

As per the order copy, disputes and matters relating to the physical and legal possession and title of the property would be adjudicated upon by a civil court.

The court noted that it will not be proper to hold that Section 102 of the CrPC empowers a police officer to seize immovable property, land, plots, residential houses, streets or similar properties.

Given the nature of criminal litigation, such seizure of an immovable property by the police officer in the form of an attachment and dispossession would not facilitate investigation to collect evidence and material to be produced during inquiry and trial, it said.

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