Empee Distilleries Ltd., seeks return of car involved in accident that killed a boy

The Madras High Court has directed the XIV Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, to dispose of on merit, an application by Empee Distilleries Ltd, seeking return of its car that was involved in an accident at Egmore on May 22. The vehicle was driven by Shaji Purushothaman, son of M.P. Purushothaman, said a charge sheet in the accident case. The car allegedly ran over people sleeping on the pavement, killing a teenager and injuring others.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan passed the order on a writ petition by the company, represented by its authorised signatory, K.A. Suryanarayanan. He said Section 451 Cr.P.C. permitted the magistrate to return the vehicle to the owner subject to production of records.

The company was prepared to produce the original registration certificate and the insurance certificate. Since the driving licence was not necessary to return the vehicle, there was no question of producing the document as a pre-condition for considering the application. The Judge said the magistrate should complete the exercise within four weeks.

The company said the vehicle met with an accident on May 22 this year and the Anna Square police had registered a case. The Director of the company was said to be an accused in the offence. After an inspection, the MV Inspector had prepared the report. The petitioner preferred an application before the magistrate seeking return of the vehicle during pendency of investigation.

The lower court said the original driving licence of the person who drove the vehicle should be produced. So, it did not take up the application. The company filed the present petition seeking a direction to the magistrate to consider and dispose of the application uninfluenced by the MV Inspector’s report. Mr. Justice Sasidharan said Section 451 Cr.P.C. permitted the magistrate to return the vehicle to the owner subject to production of records. The company was prepared to produce the original registration certificate and the insurance certificate. Since the driving licence was not necessary to return the vehicle, there was no question of producing the document as a pre-condition for considering the application. The Judge said the magistrate should complete the exercise within four weeks, according to a charge sheet filed by the police.

This should be done after verification of the ownership of the vehicle. However, the production of the original driving licence of the person who drove the vehicle at the material point of time should not be insisted, the High Court said. (Recently, the city police filed a charge sheet in the accident case. The charge sheet said the vehicle was driven by Shaji Purushothaman. It ran over some people sleeping on the pavement, killing a boy aged 13.)