The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines to ensure that vehicles that were stolen or lost are returned quickly to the owners and insurers and do not end up as “national waste” in police stations.
The apex court held the police commissioner responsible for ensuring that the seized vehicles that were involved in offences or recovered while solving a car theft case are back on the road within a short time.
A bench headed by Justice P. Sathasivam said, “Even a well maintained vehicle loses its road-worthiness if it is kept stationary in the police station for more than 15 days. It is also a matter of common knowledge that several valuable and costly parts of the vehicles are stolen so that they become unworthy of being driven on the road.”
The directives specifically hold the police commissioner responsible for implementing the guidelines.
The guidelines allow the insurance company to move a separate application before the magistrate for the release of the recovered vehicle. The car’s release order has to be passed within 30 days of receiving the application.
Necessary photographs of the vehicle can be taken and certified at that time.
The directives came on a petition by the General Insurance Council that claimed that assets worth crores of rupees were lost as thousands of lost vehicles were being reduced to junk at police stations.