Disposal of Property Under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Disposal of property CrPC Law Insider

By: Arshia Jain


When a property is taken into custody by the court because it has been involved in or may be utilized in commission of an offense. This form of property may be brought as evidence before the Hon’ble court; once provided, the court might issue an order for the property’s disposal. In some situations, the court’s disposition of property or documents during an investigation or trial is a critical issue.

Sections 451 to 459 of Chapter 34 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973, are the legal provisions provided by the legislation. Let’s look at what the term “disposal of property” implies in criminal law.

What is “Property Disposal”?

The procedure adopted by the courts to decommission or dispose off assets owing to age or changes in performance and capacity needs of the property can be termed as disposal. A comprehensive analysis and economic evaluation are required when deciding to sell or divest a property or asset.

A property can be disposed of in one of three ways: sale, transfer, or relinquishment. On the other hand, the method for disposing of a criminal case is different under Criminal Law. In Sections 452 to 459 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the method and remedies for disposing of the property are clearly stated.

Property Types and Disposal Methods

There are four sorts of properties or any form of document that the court deals with in criminal law. The following are some of them:

  • The property where the unlawful act has taken place.
  • Any property that has been utilized in the commission of a crime.
  • The property has been presented as evidence in front of the hon’ble court.
  • The property that is under the possession of the court administration.

As a result, we may argue that all papers or things submitted before a court as evidence or for an investigation is eligible for disposal under the word PROPERTY.

These are the methods that can be used to dispose of the property:

  • The property is being demolished.
  • Confiscation.
  • Any individual who claims to be entitled to ownership of the property receives an endorsement.

As a result, the court may decide on the best way for disposing of the property. Let us now turn our attention to the legal requirements of the legislation.

Section 451 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The disposition of property before the completion of a case is addressed under Section 451 of the Code. As a result, this section deals with the property’s temporary disposition. According to this, if a property is shown before a Criminal Court during an investigation or trial, and the Court determines that it is appropriate for it to be placed in proper custody before the trial or investigation is completed, the Court can issue an order for the same. The Court may also record sufficient evidence and order the property to be sold or disposed of if it is prone to rapid and natural degradation.

In addition, the Section explicitly defines the property that can be disposed of in this respect as follows:

  • Property discovered during an investigation or trial;
  • Property that has been involved in an offense or that has been used to conduct an offense.

Based on the facts and circumstances of the case, the court must decide whether the property can be given for secure interim custody while the investigation or trial. The case of Abdurahiman Vs The Excise Inspector[1] can help us better comprehend how this case applies.

Facts: In this case, the petitioner contested the court’s decision to deny his motion for the interim release of his auto-rickshaw in connection with a crime in which the autorickshaw was allegedly used to carry illicit goods. The court, however, refused to release him under the Akbari Act.

On appeal, the higher court held that, under Section 451 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the provisions of the Akbari Act, either the magistrate or an authorized officer has the authority to release any property, vehicle, or other item used in the commission of an offense punishable under the Akbari Act if the vehicle’s continued detention would cause the owner harm. As a result, the appeal court ordered the lower court to review its decision and allow the defendant to be released.

Section 452 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Now that we’ve examined the property’s disposition before the trial’s end, or at the intermediate stage, let’s move on to the property’s disposition after the trial is completed.

  • When a trial or investigation in a Criminal Court is completed, the Court has the authority to order the disposition of property under Section 452. This disposal can take the form of destruction, seizure, or distribution to anybody who claims to be the rightful owner of a property or document shown in court.
  • An order issued under Section 452 may be made with or without the requirement that the possessor of the property execute a bond (with or without securities) promising to return the property to the court if the order is changed or appealed, according to Subsection (2).
  • Subsection (3) states that the Sessions Court may order the property to be delivered to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
  • Furthermore, Subsection (4) says that the order will not be carried out for at least two months or until the appeal is resolved. This regulation does not apply if the property is subject to natural decay, is livestock, or if a bond has been issued in this respect.

It’s also worth noting that, under this Section, the property includes not just that which is in the Court’s custody, but also that which has been converted or swapped.

Thangam Thangathammal Vs The State [2]is an example of this.

The prosecution witness had applied and got an order in his favor to get a property by way of interim custody during the trial in this case. Following the acquittal of the accused, the petitioner filed an application claiming that she is entitled to custody of the property since it belongs to her. The lower court, on the other hand, decided against her, claiming that the application had been filed late.

On appeal, the Madras High Court concluded that the lower court’s judgment was incorrect and that an application under Section 452 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could only be submitted after the trial was over. As a result, the petitioner filed such an application during the proper time, and the modification should be permitted.

Section 453 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 453 deals with the transfer of money discovered on an accused to an innocent buyer. This section discusses a case in which the accused is convicted of a crime involving theft or stolen goods and an innocent person who did not know about the theft. By applying with the court, an innocent individual can recover money (up to the purchase price) from the court. If no money is found on the guilty individual, the court cannot require him or her, or even the owner, to pay the innocent purchaser the purchase money.

Section 454 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The Code’s Section 454 deals with appeals against the Court’s orders made under Sections 452 and 453.

This section provides that anybody who is aggrieved by a Court’s order made under Sections 452 and 453 may appeal. On such an appeal, the Appellate Court may order the lower court’s ruling to stay, or it may amend, revise, or revoke the order and issue new orders that it deems reasonable.

In the case of Thangam Thangathammal Vs The State, the petitioner used this Section to seek the Appellate Court, namely the Madras High Court.

Section 455 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The destruction of libellous or other items is covered under Section 455 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

This section simply says that if the court thinks it’s necessary, it might order the destruction of all copies of something in connection with a conviction made under:

  • The IPC’s Section 292 (Sale etc. of Obscene books etc),
  • The IPC’s Section 293 (Sale, etc., of the obscene objects to a young person),
  • The IPC’s Section 501 (about the Printing, engraving derogatory content, etc.,), and
  • Section 502 of the Indian Penal Code (Sale of printed or engraved material containing derogatory system).

Section 456 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 456 deals with the Court’s ability to reclaim custody of immovable property. This section indicates that if the court believes a person guilty of criminal force or intimidation has deprived someone of immovable property, the court might order that property be returned to them. This restoration can even be accomplished by forcibly evicting the property’s owner. This restoration must, however, be completed within one month of the conviction. Subsection (2) further provides that the Court of Appeal has the authority to make such an order.

It is important to note that this section only applies when the following conditions are met:

  • The individual who was convicted was found guilty of criminal intimidation.
  • Because of this unlawful force, the individual who disposed of the property has been dispossessed.

Smt. Ganga and Others Vs State of Rajasthan and Another’s [3]is a significant case using Section 456.

Ram Kumar was legally allowed physical ownership of a room and a staircase in this case. The accused Champa Lal, Virendra Singh, Kamlesh, and Parasram, on the other hand, used force and intimidation to evict him. In the eyes of law, it was found liable. Champa Lal died as a result of his conviction. The court ordered that the punishment imposed on Champa Lal should be paid out of the property he left behind. His legal team, on the other hand, filed an appeal.

The Court of Appeal concluded that if the accused illegally dispossessed certain property under Section 456, an order of restoration would survive his death and the dismissal of the appeal. Following that, whoever is in control of the property, including his legal representatives, is obligated to restore it.

Section 457 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The method to be followed by the police for seizing property is discussed in Section 457.

When a property is confiscated by the police but not brought before the magistrate during the investigation and/or trial, this Section applies. In such cases, the magistrate might order the property to be disposed of or delivered to an entitled person after receiving a report or information on the seizure of the property.

Furthermore, the Bombay High Court clarified in Ghaffar Bhai Nabu Bhai Tawar Vs Motirao Kesaorao Bongirwar[4] that a magistrate can make an order relating to the confiscated property only after the inquiry or trial has been completed and the seized property has not been submitted in the inquiry or trial. While the inquiry is ongoing, he cannot make an order relating to the confiscated property under this provision.

Section 458 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 458 outlines the steps to take if no one claims the property within six months. If the following conditions are met:

  • No one claims such property and can demonstrate that it is his or hers, and
  • If the person who took the item from his possession is unable to demonstrate that the property was obtained legitimately.

The Magistrate might then issue an order instructing the State government to dispose of the property in question and deal with the revenues in the manner specified.

Section 459 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The power to sell perishable property is covered under Section 459.

The magistrate can order the sale of a perishable property that is prone to rapid and natural deterioration if the following conditions are met:

  • The individual who is entitled to it is unknown or unavailable.
  • The magistrate who receives the seized property report considers that selling the property would be beneficial to the owner.
  • The property is worth less than Rs. 500.

The revenues acquired from such a transaction would be subject to the requirements of Sections 457 and 489 in such instances.


The legislation gives the government the authority to dispose of any property that has been used in a criminal offense. This also illustrates that property cannot be kept in police custody until it is essential; instead, it must be disposed of quickly at the discretion of the Magistrate once it is no longer required by the court. As a result, the court must issue appropriate legal instructions for the disposition of such property.

Aside from the method outlined in Section 451-459 of the Cr.P.C., some provisions in the Criminal Rules of Practice deal with the idea of custody (Rules 220-222), the submission of material items (Rules 223-226), and the disposition of case characteristics (Rules 227-234).

To summarize, the disposition of property is nothing more than a question of unrestricted discretion for the court dealing with it.


Disposal of Case property in criminal cases

Disposal of Case Property

Disposal of property Under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Power to sell perishable property

  1. Abdurahiman Vs The Excise Inspector Crl.M.C.No.4057 of 2005
  2. Thangam Thangathammal v. The State 1998 (2) CTC 235
  3. Smt. Ganga and Others Vs State of Rajasthan and Another’s 1993 CriLJ 216, 1992 (3) WLC 16, 1992 (1) WLN 555
  4. Ghaffar Bhai Nabu Bhai Tawar Vs Motirao Kesaorao Bongirwar 1978 CriLJ 405

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