MUMBAI: A Bandra magistrate on Friday ordered release of a four wheeler impounded a month ago by Mahim police during the lockdown, to avoid its rusting, on a Rs 1 lakh indemnity bond and Rs 15,000 cash security. On Saturday the police released the vehicle.
Mahim police had impounded the vehicle after its owner and brother were found driving it around at 2am “without any reasonable cause” in violation of the lockdown notification under the Epidemic Diseases Act. A first information report (FIR) was lodged on April 24 against them under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code which attracts punishment of one month simple imprisonment and fine, along with other offences under the Motor Vehicles Act as well. All offences are bailable.
The vehicle owner’s advocate Samaa Shah said, “We were told by the Bandra court that our was the first application there for return of seized vehicle.”
Within 48 hours, 6000 cars were seized by the police for lockdown violations this week.
The Mahim Police on Saturday said it had seized close to 50 four wheelers and 250 two wheelers.
The vehicle owner Usman Sayyed and his brother own a pharmacy in Mahim and also have been issued a Covid-19 essential service license said his lawyers Nusrat Shah and Samaa Shah, arguing for interim release of the vehicle after submitting that Sayyed’s was a case of false allegation of not stopping the car and speeding and not giving adequate reasons. The police did not accept their essential service license when shown, “either because they were overworked and stressed”, and the brothers “became a scapegoat”, their application for vehicle release said.
The owner said the vehicle is needed to travel to his medical store in Mahim from his residence in Mumbai Central since no public transport is available. His medical store is an essential service.
The magistrate SN Shinde in his order said, “the accused seems to have prima facie committed the offence.” But added, “However, interim custody can be given to avoid damage and rusting of the vehicle, on strict conditions.” The magistrate said the owner should neither sell nor rent out or destroy the car and should furnish three photos of the car from three angles to the police station.
On April 20, the commissioner had issued orders not to step out after 8 pm without reason.
The application was made this week, as Sayed was under the impression that courts were shut during the lockdown, but when her learnt from advocate Shah that courts were working, he immediately filed the application on Monday and after issuing notice and hearing the police too, the court ordered the release.