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The IT Act (2000) §76 states that any person liable for an offence under the IT Act (2000) shall suffer confiscation of the IT device on which the confiscation has been made. Are there any provisions for how long a confiscation can or cannot last? I researched the act(including drafts) and couldn't find anything regarding this.

Any computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories related thereto, in respect of which any provision of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made thereunder has been or is being contravened, shall be liable to confiscation:

Provided that where it is established to the satisfaction of the court adjudicating the confiscation that the person in whose possession, power or control of any such computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories relating thereto is found is not responsible for the contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made thereunder, the court may, instead of making an order for confiscation of such computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories related thereto, make such other order authorised by this Act against the person contravening of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made thereunder as it may think fit.
source

It's one of the few laws where confiscation is a punishment.

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  • please quote the provision you ask about and remember to capitalize the first letter of a sentence.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:12
  • I'm sorry. I'm using the phone browser version and it might just be a problem from my side my bad. but typing and linking is very hard and notifications don't pop up well , maybe it's bugged or something. I'll try and fix it
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:15
  • also I've tried multiple browsers on my phone and the U.I is still bugged for this site for some reason
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:28
  • What makes you think confiscation should be temporary? Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:51
  • it can be permanent or temporary is my point. as in is the confiscation permanent ? or subject to discretion ? because I believe there is a difference between confiscation and forfieture
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:58

1 Answer 1

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Confiscation

Confiscation comes from Latin "confiscatio" (“to declare property of the fiscus” - To declare the property of the public treasury) is the act of the government seizing an item permanently under its direct meaning.

Seizure

A property that is seized is taken by the government to do something with it, such as taking the car with the broken window while investigating a crime, temporarily parking the trucks for highway construction, or actually building the highway on.

The seized item or land can become government property by forfeiture, court order (at which point it is confiscated), or might be returned at some point if it isn't confiscated. If compensation is required, usually money is returned instead of the item.

In the examples, the outcome of the two latter is somewhat easy to deduce: the land for parking is returned, and the owner of the land under the highway instead gets payment for his land that becomes government property.

The car with the smashed window would be generally returned to its real owner if he was not involved in the crime.

Correct Order Of Operations

So technically, the Police first seize an item, then the court rules the item to be confiscated, which means it becomes government property.

Forfeiture?

Forfeiture is only different from Confiscation in the process of how it happens. Forfeiture and Confiscation both have the same outcome but at times different means. In older legal texts, the two words always come together: Confiscation and Forfeiture.

In modern parlance, Confiscation is usually used when the seizure of an illegal thing happens, such as drugs, where Forfeiture is used when a legal thing is demanded by the government, such as land.

See also, in the US, Civil Asset Forfeiture and Criminal Asset Forfeiture.

India & Confiscation

In India, there are actually many more laws that confiscate or forfeit items or land to the government, as this article elaborates. The most relevant one seems to be the Criminal Procedure Code (1973), which deals with property in general, when criminal charges are dealt with:

  1. Order for disposal of property at conclusion of trial.—(1) When an inquiry or trial in any Criminal Court is concluded, the Court may make such order as it thinks fit for the disposal, by destruction, confiscation or delivery to any person claiming to be entitled to possession thereof or otherwise, of any property or document produced before it or in its custody, or regarding which any offence appears to have been committed, or which has been used for the commission of any offence

This paragraph puts the court in charge of determining if, how, and when the property is returned to anyone or if the government owns a shiny new thing or has to put it into a crusher. In the case of the specific paragraph in the IT Act (2000), the court is granted an additional option besides confiscation:

If the judge is satisfied that the person charged was not the culprit for the illegal software, the court may grant other orders enumerated besides seizing the item.

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  • so there is no way to get a property back once it has been siezed and a person is guilty
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 11:08
  • @IndianLawDropout if the judgement orders an item confiscated, yes. a ruling can be appealed though.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 11:09
  • what do you mean appealed ? edit;; I forgot the appellate tribunal provision. I'll check into it
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 11:24
  • there is section 61 [[[No court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an adjudicating officer appointed under this Act or the Appellate Tribunal constituted under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.]]] but section 61's title says "civil courts not to have jurisdiction" while the description seems to apply to all courts.
    – user49663
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 11:50
  • @IndianLawDropout Any judgement can be pushed to the next higher court by appealing that something in the judgement was wrong. Then it ends in appellate court/tribunal and might finally end in supreme court.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 13:39

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