Summary of Landmark judgment

Case: Shento Varghese v. Julfikar Husen & Ors.

Date of Order / Judgment: 13th May, 2024

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice Aravind Kumar


In the present case, the Accused's bank account was frozen by the bank following a police order. The report of the seizure was submitted to the Magistrate in accordance with Section 102(3) of the Cr.P.C. The Accused's request to unfreeze the account was denied by the Magistrate. Subsequently, the Accused approached the High Court seeking to unfreeze the account stating that the seizure order was not promptly reported to the Magistrate. The High Court ruled in favour of the accused. Aggrieved by this decision, the Complainant/Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.


Whether the delayed reporting of the seizure to the Magistrate would vitiate the seizure order altogether or not?


The Court observed that “The expression 'forthwith' means 'as soon as may be', 'with reasonable speed and expedition', 'with a sense of urgency', and 'without any unnecessary delay'. In other words, it would mean as soon as possible, judged in the context of the object sought to be achieved or accomplished.” The Court also noted that “When it is not the mandate of the law that the act should be done within a fixed time, it would mean that the act must be done within a reasonable time. It all depends upon the circumstances that may unfold in a given case and there cannot be a straight-jacket formula prescribed in this regard. In that sense, the interpretation of the word 'forthwith' would depend upon the terrain in which it travels and would take its colour depending upon the prevailing circumstances which can be variable.”


The Supreme Court held that the delay in reporting the seizure report by the police to the magistrate wouldn't vitiate the act of seizure by police under Section 102(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.