The petitioner is the registered owner of a Ford Endeavour with registration No. DL 3C AY 5481, which was stolen on 20th February 2009, leading to the registration of FIR No. 56/2009 by P.S. Defence Colony.

The trial against the accused persons involved in the theft is still pending.

On 5th June 2013, the petitioner filed an application under Section 451 Cr.P.C. seeking permission to sell the vehicle due to its age, maintenance requirements, and depreciated market value.

The Additional Sessions Judge, through an order dated 19th September 2013, allowed the petitioner to sell the vehicle subject to the condition that the prospective purchaser executes a superdari bond.

The petitioner seeks permission to sell the vehicle due to its age, high maintenance costs, and depreciating market value, emphasizing its burden as an expensive asset to maintain.

What is the meaning of Superdari?

Superdari is a legal term used in Indian law that refers to the temporary release of seized property to its rightful owner or a third party, subject to certain conditions. The release is usually granted by a court during the pendency of legal proceedings, ensuring that the property is not damaged or deteriorated while in custody. Superdari allows the owner to retain possession of the property under specified terms set by the court, such as providing a bond or indemnity to ensure the property’s safekeeping.

 Relevant Sections:

  1. Section 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P.C): This section deals with the order for custody and disposal of property pending trial in certain cases. It empowers the court to make appropriate orders for the custody of property during an inquiry or trial, including releasing the property on superdari if it is subject to decay or if such release is deemed expedient.

ROHTASH V. STATE OF HARYANA & ANOTHER  (Punjab & Haryana High Court, 2023): The judgment discusses the release of a vehicle on superdari and the conditions imposed by the court for its release.

K.C Stone Crushing Co. & Others V. State Of Haryana & Others(Punjab & Haryana High Court, 2021): This judgment talks about the jurisdiction of courts regarding the release of vehicles under specific legal provisions.

Mukesh Kumar Petitioner V. State of Haryana (2011): The judgment highlights the application of Section 451 Cr. P.C in releasing a vehicle on superdari during legal proceedings.

Surinder Kaur V. State of Punjab (Punjab & Haryana High Court, 2020): This case showcases the release of a vehicle on Superdari under Section 451 Cr.P.C, emphasizing the need to prevent damage to the vehicle.

Ishwar Chand V. State of Haryana (Punjab & Haryana High Court, 2024): This judgment discusses the concept of superdari and its relevance in releasing seized property, specifically a tractor trolley. These judgments provide insights into the application of superdari and Section 451 Cr. P.C. in releasing seized property, particularly vehicles, during legal proceedings to prevent damage or loss.


1. Whether the petitioner should be allowed to sell the stolen vehicle pending trial.

2. Whether the court’s decision to require the vehicle during evidence is justified.

Laws Applied:

Section 451 Cr.P.C.

Indian Arms Act

Supreme Court judgments, including Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat

Article 141 of the Constitution of India


The petitioner is permitted to sell the vehicle unconditionally after providing photographs to the Investigating Officer.

The court’s decision to retain the vehicle for evidence during the trial is deemed erroneous given the circumstances of the case.


The petitioner’s request to sell the vehicle is reasonable considering its age, maintenance needs, and diminished value.

The court’s insistence on retaining the vehicle for evidence appears unjustified as the petitioner is the registered owner and the vehicle was recovered from the accused.

The court should prioritize the fair trial process while also considering the petitioner’s practicalities and needs as the stolen vehicle’s rightful owner.

Precedents and Directives:

The Supreme Court’s directives emphasize the prompt exercise of powers under Section 451 Cr.P.C. and the dispensation of the physical production of the vehicle.

Non-compliance with established legal principles, as noted by the High Court, can lead to contempt proceedings and undermine the rule of law.

The Supreme Court’s directions regarding the disposal of case properties and adherence to well-settled legal principles should guide the court’s decisions.

Case Laws:-

1. Valabhai Maganbhai Rabari v. State Of Gujarat (Gujarat High Court, 2017): This judgment emphasizes the private nature of disputes and the pragmatic view that courts should take in such cases, considering the futility of continuing criminal proceedings when parties have settled the matter.

2. Directorate Of Revenue Intelligence v. Prk Diamonds Pvt. Ltd. And Another (Delhi High Court, 2019): This judgment discusses the interim release of vehicles seized during investigations and the conditions under which such release can be allowed, providing insight into the legal principles applied in similar cases.

3. Sayed Raghib Khursheed v. The Inspector of Police (Madras High Court, 2023): This judgment discusses the release of seized property and the considerations that courts should consider, especially regarding the practicality of retaining seized items and the impact on the parties involved.

4. Sukhdeep Singh Petitioner v. State (2016): This case discusses the acquittal of accused persons and the role of the State in presenting evidence, which can be relevant in understanding the burden of proof in cases involving seized goods.

5. Amit Kumar Gupta v. Principal Commissioner Of Customs (2021): This judgment involves issues related to customs duty evasion and the duty of individuals to provide accurate information regarding imported goods, which can provide context to cases involving seized goods like in the Manjit Singh case.


The petitioner is granted permission to sell the stolen vehicle, and the court is advised to consider the fair trial requirements alongside the petitioner’s legitimate concerns as the registered owner. The court should ensure compliance with legal directives and prioritize the efficient disposal of case properties while upholding the rule of law.

contributed by : Devesh Modi

ICFAI Law School , (2022-25)

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