KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the State Police chief to ensure that vehicles seized by the police are not parked on roadsides, or along the road margins, obstructing the smooth flow of traffic.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique issued the directive while considering a petition filed by S Gopalakrishnan and others, seeking a directive to remove the confiscated and damaged vehicles from roadsides, which have been causing traffic disruption.
The petitioner alleged that approximately 8,500 vehicles are lying in police stations in the State - the majority of which seized under the Sand Mining Act.The Bench also directed the State Police chief to file an affidavit on the steps taken to solve the problem, within four weeks.Public Grievances ASP Ahmed Shafeen submitted before the court that several circulars were issued with regard to the disposal of seized vehicles lying in different police stations. As per the data collected from districts in 2013, the total number of confiscated vehicles was 40,003, of which 33,646 vehicles were disposed off.
On July 19, 2014, directives were issued to all district police chiefs to prepare and forward monthly reports on the number of vehicles lying on roadsides.
As on September 30, around 5,867 unclaimed and auctioned vehicles were lying in police stations, of which about 328 vehicles were involved in Abkari cases, around 15,933 vehicles in cases related to the Kerala Protection of River Bank Regulation of Sand Act-2001 and around 69 vehicles in cases registered under the Essential Commodities Act.
The State pointed out that Malappuram topped the list of unclaimed/auctioned vehicles, with 2,494 vehicles. Kollam comes second with 451 vehicles. A total of 7,809 vehicles- all of which involved in sand mining cases - are lying on roadsides in Malappuram. As many as 2,335 vehicles are lying in Palakkad, 1,424 in Thrissur, and 1,080 in Kasaragod. The State submitted that most of the vehicles seized and lying in the compounds of police stations were mainly involved in sand mining cases. In the majority of the cases, owners do not come forward as the cases are pending before courts. The amount fixed for the release of the vehicles is also a reason behind the unwillingness of the owners to claim the vehicles. The cumbersome procedures and formalities prescribed for the disposal of the vehicles are another reason.