De-sealing of Sonography Machines – When Action of the Appropriate Authority was held to be illegal and based on a “one – line” report !!…..

Janaki Ultra Sound Center V/s. The Appropriate Authority Center & ors. (W.P.No.1 of 2015, Bombay High Court, Aurangabad Bench, 2015 (6) Mh.L.J. 886) )

Facts :
1. The Petitioner is an establishment which is operated by Dr. Patil, who is having requisite qualifications and certificates to run a Sonography center. The Sonography machines were sealed without following the due process of Law. The Team members of visiting team were not authorized, persons. Immediately after sealing of machines, the Magistrate was not informed.
2. There were no allegations of machines being used for sex determination.
3. The Respondents strongly opposed the Petition. They contended that the the AA has right to seal the machine if there is a “reason to believe” that the said machine is likely to be
used for committing a crime or offense in a repetitive manner.

Held :
1. The Action of Respondents Authority of sealing the machines was quashed and set aside by the Hon. bombay High Court.
2. The Court rejected “one line reason” for sealing the machines i.e. “Dr. Patil has violated the said Act and therefore the machines are sealed”. There was no observation in the report that said machines were used for an offense under the Act or at least it had “reason to believe” nor there was any mention that the AA had formed a “reasonable belief” about any offence committed with the use of the machine or that there was a high possibility of the said machine being used for committing offences in future. Thus the vital ingredients of Rule 12 were missing.
3. The Ld. Judge called upon the Asst. Govt. Pleader to point out from the report that would indicate the commission of the offense, but he was unable to satisfy the Court on this point.
4. Moreover it was also observed that the “Seizure Report ” i.e. “Japti Panchanama “also did not indicate the case of the AA that they had a reason to believe that the sonography machine was used for committing any offence or was likely to be used for committing any offence or that the machine was an important piece of evidence.
5. Considering the facts fo the case in hand and relying on the earlier judgment of Bombay High Court, the Court Directed to De-seal and return the machines within 3 weeks. However other criminal case is to be continued against the Petitioner and it also directed that the present case shall not come in way of exercising powers of AA U/Sec.30.

Thanks and Regards

(Adv. Rohit Erande)

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