Legal Advice

Deceased’s family members want to lodge a false FIR, how can I get my car released?

Question: I am a differently abled driver who drives a modified automatic car  RTO, ARAI and International approved fitment meant of differently abled drivers having a valid driving licence for the differently abled driver, Personal health Fitness certificate issued by a government hospital, insurance and RC of the car registered as an invalid carriage. After almost 18 years of driving experience, I met an accident with a person despite being way below the speed limit and road work going on.  Later on, that person died after 4 to 5 hours in the hospital being alive and talking to people as I never fled the place but rather followed the person to the hospital behind an ambulance and informed the cops as the hospital authorities did not report the police in the initial hours of admission and was kept in loop that person suffered a broken elbow or knee to which they were treating the person. Relatives of that deceased person have not filed an FIR against me currently as informed by police so got bail.  I came to know about the information in the First information report when the investigating officer informed I have been booked under Section 279, 338 and 304a by the cops while recording my statement and its been 2 weeks since the incident where I was informed the impounded car will be released after  RTO officials conduct a safety check of the car but it going to be 3 weeks so a bit worried if the relative of the deceased person who is 64 years sick and unaccompanied by any family member or friend at the place or vicinity of the incident may or may have lodged a false and frivolous FIR against me after a week which could be a delay in the release of the car.  The dead person was walking on the middle road suddenly rather than the footpath provided but I am facing a problem due to the fault of the deceased person. Please advise how to go about this case and also release my car from police custody as it depends on it for basic access to my job location and quite a few places.

Advise

Prima facie it seems that the deceased was going in the wrong direction. Your car was within a speed limit and you accompanied the deceased to the hospital and present there. All the offences are less serious and you’ll never be arrested. 

If the relatives of the deceased person want to lodge a false FIR against you in respect of the same incident, they have no right to lodge such an FIR. That FIR will be an example of abuse of process of law because more than one FIR in the same incident is prohibited by the code of criminal procedure. 

If another FIR has been lodged against you then you should immediately approach the high court for the quashing of that FIR. You should file a writ petition to the high court under Article 226 of the constitution for quashing of FIR. 

The high court may quash the FIR because one criminal proceeding in respect of the same incident is carried on. So far as release of your car is concerned, you should move an application to the competent judicial magistrate under section 451 crpc.

The section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that deals with the release of a seized vehicle is Section 451. This section specifies that when any property, including a vehicle, is seized during an investigation, the police or investigating officer must make an inventory of the seized property and send a copy of the same to the magistrate. 

The magistrate, upon receiving the inventory, may order the release of the property to the person entitled to receive it, subject to certain conditions. The relevant provisions are outlined in Section 451(1) and (2) of the CrPC.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow