This article has been written by Gazala Parveen, pursuing a Diploma in English Communication for Lawyers – oratory, writing, listening and accuracy and has been edited by Oishika Banerji (Team Lawsikho). 

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


When we talk about disposal of property, what comes in our mind is transferring of the  control and ownership to others or by different means like selling off, destruction, confiscation, in regards to the property. Chapter XXXIV of Criminal Procedure Code 1973 (CrPC), outlines the concept of disposal of property under Sections 451- 459. This article has been written with an idea to discuss the concept of disposal property under CrPc thereby simplifying it for its readers. 

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What do you mean by disposal of property

Disposal is defined as the process which is used by the court for decommission and disposal of an assets due to ageing or some changes in performance and the capacity requirement of the property. Decision to dispose of or divest a property or an asset requires thorough examination and economic appraisal. In general, we dispose of property through transfer, sale, or by means of other ways but in the criminal law, property can be disposed of in accordance with the provisions laid down under CrPC.  

Analysis of provisions dealing with disposal of property under CrPC

The author here has tried to discuss the various provisions that come under the discussion when talking about disposal of property. 

Section 451 – order for custody and disposal of property pending trial in certain case 

According to Section 451 , the court has the power to make such an order which fits according to the case and subject to speedy and natural decay, or otherwise expedient to do so in relation to property of any kind or document which is produced before the court or is in custody during inquiry or trial. After recording all the necessary  evidence, the court gives the order in regards to the property to be sold or disposed of. 

In the case of Manoj Kumar Sharma v. Sadhan Roy (1993), a truck purchased under hire purchase agreement was seized because the purchaser was not paying instalment and he had transferred the truck to a third party. It was held that the financier being the real owner is entitled to the custody of the truck seized and it would be injudicious to give custody to a person in whose name the vehicle is registered.

Section 452 – order for disposal of property at conclusion of trial

In this section when the inquiry or trial in any criminal court is concluded, order for disposal of property is made. Proceeding may have concluded either in conviction, acquittal or discharge of the accused. What is necessary for application of this action is that the property in dispute must have either been produced before it or is in the custody of the court. This section deals with the disposal of property regarding which an offence has been committed. The court under this section cannot decide any claim to manage any property or any title to the property, but shall dispose of the property on the basis of possession.

In Suleman Issa v. State of Bombay (1954), it was observed that although the power of the high court under this section no doubt extends to confiscation of property in the custody of the court, it is not every case in which the court must necessarily pass an order of confiscation irrespective of the circumstance of the case.

Section 453 – Payment to innocent purchaser of money found on accused

This section talks about the person who is otherwise innocent but has been convicted in the case of theft or receiving stolen property, receiving payment as a consequence of fabricated accusation.  

Section 454 – Appeal against order under Section 452 or Section 453

Section 454 idealises the concept of appeal that may be given birth by the aggrieved party who stands dissatisfied with the orders passed either under Section 452 or Section 453. Upon such appeal, directions stating stay, modification or alteration of the order causing prejudice to the appellant be made. Such powers can also be exercised by a Court of Appeal.

Section 455 – Destruction of libellous and other matter

Section 455 talks about competent court ordering destruction of copies of all such things which are related to the convictions made in accordance with Sections 292, 293, 501 or 502 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Clause 2 of this provision also states that following the direction given out in Clause 1, courts may ask for disposal of necessary matters in connection to conviction made under Sections 272, 273, 274, or 275 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 

Section 456 – Power to restore possession of immovable property.

If a person has been wrongfully dispossessed by use of force,  possession must be restored under Section 456, to whomsoever it belongs. An order under Section 456 not only binds the accused but also binds any other person including the legal representative of the accused who may be in possession of such property. It is to be noted that possession could be restored only by a competent court.

The observation which was made in the case of State of H.P v. Paras Ram (2008), stated that the police could not on their own, deliver possession of the premises to the complainant when the same were found to be in possession of the accused and it is the magistrate who can pass an interim order for disposal of the seized property according to law.

Section 457 – Procedure in case of insolvency or death of surety or when a bond is forfeited

As per Section 457, criminal courts have been vested with the jurisdiction to provide custody of seized property/articles at the investigation stage, when those seized property are not produced before the court.  The provision lays down the procedure that needs to be followed by the police officials following the seizing of a property. 

Section 458 – Procedure where no claimant appears within six months

When it comes to Section 458, the court has been given the competency to direct the appropriate state government to dispose of property that remains unclaimed for a period of 6 months by its owner.

Section 459 – Power to sell perishable property

According to this section , when the value to goods is less than Rs. 500 and the goods are coming within the ambit of perishable property which is subject to natural and speedy decay and the magistrate finds that the sale of the property is better for the owner then he may direct the same sale. The provision aims to prevent property from getting wasted. 


As we come to the end of this article, it is ideal to state that the provisions surrounding the concept of disposal of property remains relevant for time immemorial as they have clearly laid down the entire process involved in the same alongside the duties vested on police authorities and the judiciary. 



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