The Delhi Police on Thursday told the Supreme Court that a policy will be framed in a month to dispose of piles of impounded or seized vehicles lying in various police stations across the national capital.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the police why impounded vehicles are not sold off when nobody comes forward to claim their ownership even after several years.
Justice Gupta told the police that courts are told that rats eat away seized drugs when narcotics cases come up for hearing.
"In NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) cases, 3-4 years later when the cases come up in the court, nothing (seized drugs) is left in the 'malkhana' (rooms in police stations to store seized materials) and police say 'choohe khaa gaye' (rats ate it)," Justice Gupta said.
The apex court said that in narcotics cases, "more drugs are smuggled from inside the 'malkhana', than outside".
If 100kg heroin is seized, nothing of it is left in 'malkhana', the bench observed.
During the hearing, the bench asked the police why it cannot sell seized vehicles after two-three months and if owner claims it, give him the money or let the money go to the state government.
The Delhi Police said the impounded vehicles are actually court property and the police are only custodians.
The court took note of the submission of the police that it will come up within four weeks with the policy to decongest the city police stations by removing or disposing of impounded vehicles.
The police also informed the court that there is only one district 'nazir' (record keeper of a 'malkhana') in Delhi.
Considering the volume of work, several more district nazirs need to be appointed, the police told the court, which was also told that this issue was taken up with the Delhi High Court, which had asked the Delhi government to consider the matter.
The apex court said it is not clear whether any further steps have been taken by the Delhi government. The counsel for the Delhi government said he would take instructions from government on the issue and inform the court.
The bench issued notice to the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court for its assistance in the matter.
The court has now posted the matter for hearing on October 10.
Earlier, acknowledging the piles of junked vehicles lying around several police stations in Delhi, the court asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to frame a policy to dispose of impounded vehicles.
It said that there "must" be a policy in this regard and people are frightened to go to the police stations, as the stations have become junkyard due to such vehicles.
These vehicles are either towed away for traffic violations or seized in crimes like theft or murder, and kept in the police station's compound and, sometimes also outside the complex due to space constraint.
The bench was hearing a matter relating to road safety across the country.
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