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In an important ruling the Supreme Court has ruled that the property acquired from the criminal activities within the country cannot be confiscated or attached under chapter VIIA of the CrPC untill and unless the crime has international ramifications.

A Bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Surinder Singh Nijjar while dismissing the appeal of the State of Madhya Pradesh also took note of the fact that the provision in chapter VIIA may be misused if made applicable to the local offences in general.

SHO Itarsi has moved an application before the Court of Judicial Magistrate for attachment and for forfeiture of the property of Balram Mihani and his associate which according to the police has been acquired through criminal and unlawful activities.

The Magistrate allowed the application filed by the police.

Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, set aside the order of the Magistrate.

Justice Sirpurkar writing 11-page judgement for the Bench noted ‘at this juncture it is pointed out that there are specific other central laws wherein the properties earned out of trading of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances or the offences relating to smuggling or financial offences relating to foreign exchange are liable to be attached, seized and forfeitured.

Chapter VII A is one such measure to introduce stringent measure for attachment and forfeiture of the properties earned by the offences, by way of reciprocal arrangement in the contracting countries.

However, if we accept the State’s contention that the provisions of chapter VII A are for all and sundry offences in India, it would be illogical.'

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