Section 451 Order for custody and disposal of property pending trial in certain cases.
When any property is produced before any Criminal Court during an inquiry or trial, the court may make such order as it thinks fit for the proper custody of such property pending the conclusion of the inquiry or trial, and, if the property is subject to speedy and natural decay , or if it is otherwise expedient so to do, the court may, after recording such evidence as it thinks necessary, order it to be sold or otherwise disposed of .
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, “property” includes-
(a) Property of any kind or document which is produced before the court or which is in its custody.
(b) Any property regarding which an offence appears to have been committed or which appears to have been used for the commission of any offence.
(1) Powers under section 451 should be exercised expeditiously and judiciously .It would serve various purposes,namely-(1)Owner of the article would not suffer because of its remaining unused or by its misappropriation ;(2) Court or the police would not be required to keep the article in safe custody ;(3) if the proper panchnama before handing over possession of article is prepared ,that can be used in evidence instead of its production before the court during the trial .If necessary ,evidence could also recorded describing the nature of the property in detail;and (4) This jurisdiction of the court to record evidence should be exercised promptly so that there may nor be further chance of tempering with article ;Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai V. State of Gujarat ,AIR 2003 SC 638.
(2) The semi processed films and the negative are not themselves items of property regarding which offences have been committed;Sajan K Varghese v.State of Kerala , (1989) Cr LJ 897: AIR 1989 SC 1058
(3)It has been held that the concerned Magistrate would take immediate action for seeing that powers under section 451 are properly and and promptly exercised and articles are not kept for a long time at the police station,in any case ,for not more than fifteen days to one month ;sunder Bhai ambalal Desai v. State of Gujarat ,AIR 2003 SC 638