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Q. When is a person declared Absconder? Explain the procedure for publication of proclamation for persons absconding with reference to Sections 82, 83, 84, 85

When a person is hiding from his place of residence so as to frustrate the execution of a warrant of arrest, he is said have absconded. A person may hide within his residence or outside away from his residence. If a person comes to know about the issuance of a process against him or if he anticipates such a process and hides or quits the country, he is said to have absconded. In Kartary vs State of UP, 1994, All HC held that when in order to evade the process of law a person is hiding from (or even in) his place of residence, he is said to abscond. A person is not said to abscond merely when he has gone to a distant place before the issuance of a warrant. Similarly, it is necessary that the person is hiding himself and it is not sufficient that an inspector is unable to find him.

Normally, if a person fails to appear before the court even after being served a summons, the court issues a warrant of arrest. However, if the person absconds to avoid the arrest, the drastic step of Proclamation for Persons Absconding needs to be taken, which is described in Section 82..

Proclamation for person absconding (Section 82(1)) -
If the court has reason to believe that a person has absconded to avoid the execution of his arrest warrant, the court may publish a written proclamation requiring such person to appear before it at the specified place and time. The date and time of appearance must not be less than thirty days from the date of proclamation.

Procedure for Publication of the Proclamation (Section 82(2)) -
As per section 82(2), the proclamation must be read in some conspicious place of the town or village in which the person resides. It shall also be affixed to some conspicuous part of the house in which the person resides or to some conspicuous place of the town or village. Further, a copy of the same must also be affixed to some conspicious part of the court house. The court may also direct a copy of the proclamation to be published in a daily newspaper circulating in the place is which such person ordinarily resides.

The terms of Section 82 are mandatory and a proclamation cannot be issued without first issuing a warrant of arrest. Therefore, as held in Bishnudayal vs Emperor AIR 1943, if there is no authority to arrest, the issuing of proclamation would be illegal.

Consequences of Proclamation
Section 83 - Attachment of property of person absconding -
The publication of proclamation in accordance with the procedure described in section 82, is the last of the steps taken to produce a person before the court. If the person still fails to appear before the court, Section 83 empowers the court to attach the property of the person who is absconding at any time. The court must record the reasons for doing so. The property can be movable or immovable. The property can be any property within the district or even outside the district of the District magistrate of the other district endorses the proclamation.

Further, if, at the time of making proclamation, the court is satisfied that the person is about to dispose of his property or is about to move his property out of the jurisdiction of the court, it may order the attachment of the property simultaneously with the issue of proclamation.

If the property to be attached is a debt or is movable property, the attachment is done either by seizure, by the appointment of a receiver, by an order ins writing prohibiting the deliver of sch property to the proclaimed person or to anyone on his behalf. Court can also use any one or more of these modes as it thinks fit. If the property is immovable, it can be attached by taking possession, by appointing a receiver, by an order prohibiting the payment of rent to the proclaimed persons or by any or all of these methods.

Section 84 provides a means to protect the interests of any person other than the proclaimed person in the attached property. Any such person who has an interest in the attached property can claim it within six months from the date of attachment on the ground that the claimant has an interest in the property and the interest is not liable to be attached under section 83. The claim shall be inquired into and may be allowed or disallowed in whole or in part.

(1) If any claim is preferred to, or objection made to the attachment of, any property attached under section 83, within six months from the date of such attachment, by any person other than the proclaimed person, on the ground that the claimant or objector has an interest in such property, and that such interest is not liable to attachment under section 83, the claim or objection shall be inquired into, and may be allowed or disallowed in whole or in part:

Provided that any claim preferred or objection made within the period allowed by this sub-section may, in the event of the death of the claimant or objector, be continued by his legal representative.

(2) Claims or objections under sub-section (1) may be preferred or made in the Court by which the order of attachment is issued, or, if the claim or objection is in respect of property attached under an order endorsed under sub-section (2) of section 83, in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of the district in which the attachment is made.

(3) Every such claim or objection shall be inquired into by the Court in which it is preferred or made:
Provided that, if it is preferred or made in the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, he may make it over for disposal to any Magistrate subordinate to him.

(4) Any person whose claim or objection has been disallowed in whole or in part by an order under sub-section (1) may, within a period of one year from the date of such order, institute a suit to establish the right which he claims in respect of the property in dispute; but subject to the result of such suit, if any, the order shall be conclusive.

Section 85 - Release, Sale, and restoration of the property -
(1) If the proclaimed person appears within the time specified in the proclamation, the Court shall make an order releasing the property from the attachment.

(2) If the proclaimed person does not appear within the time specified in the proclamation, the property under the attachment shall be at the disposal of the State Government; but it shall not be sold until the expiration of six months from the date of the attachment and until any claim preferred or objection made under section 84 has been disposed of under that section, unless it is subject to speedy and natural decay, or the Court considers that the sale would be for the benefit of the owner; in either of which cases the Court may cause it to be sold whenever it thinks fit.

(3) If, within two years from the date of the attachment, any person whose property is or has been at the disposal of the State Government, under sub-section (2), appears voluntarily or is apprehended and brought before the Court by whose order the property was attached, or the Court to which such Court is subordinate, and proves to the satisfaction of such Court that he did not abscond or conceal himself for the purpose of avoiding execution of the warrant, and that he had not such notice of the proclamation as to enable him to attend within the time specified therein such property, or, if the same has been sold, the net proceeds of the sale, or, if part only thereof has been sold, the net proceeds of the sale, and the residue of the property, shall, after satisfying therefrom all costs incurred in consequence of the attachment, be delivered to him.