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Police can’t seize drunk driver’s vehicle, says Telangana high court | Hyderabad News

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HYDERABAD: The police have no powers to seize vehicles from drunk drivers and instead can allow an accompanying person who has not had alcohol to drive the vehicle, the Telangana high court has said. After hearing a batch of petitions filed by vehicle owners, who challenged car seizures and the prolonged wait to get vehicles back, Justice K Lakshman in his order ruled, “If there is no one accompanying the drunk driver, then the police should inform a relative or friends of the intoxicated man to take custody of the vehicle.”
The judge added that if no one comes forward to take the vehicle, only then can the police keep the vehicle at the nearest police station or some other safe custody and should release it either to the owner or any authorized person.
The judge, however, agreed with the state home department counsel, G Srikanth Reddy’s contention that an intoxicated driver should not be allowed to drive from the point where he is caught.
“If a police officer comes to a conclusion that prosecution of a driver or owner or both is necessary, he shall file a chargesheet against them before a magistrate within three days from the date of seizure of the vehicle,” Justice Lakshman said in his order. “The vehicle shall be released by the officer who detained it after prosecution is completed under intimation to the regional transport authorities.”
The order directed magistrates to receive the chargesheets within three days from the date of seizure if the chargesheets are otherwise in order. If no one claims custody of the vehicle, the police can take necessary steps, the order read.
“Any breach of these directives will result in contempt cases against errant officers,” the judge warned.

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