Theft of vehicles is common in our country and instances of theft of bike are rising day by day. People prefer to visit the crowded markets on two wheelers so that they can escape from the parking problems. Getting parking space for two wheelers is much easier than parking cars. However, two wheelers are also easy targets of the thieves.
So what can be done when the bike is stolen? How can you get your stolen bike back? What is the punishment for the theft of bikes? What is the procedure to file insurance claim in case your bike could not be traced?
Procedure to be followed
Following procedure should be followed in case the bike is stolen:
- Firstly, First Information Report (FIR) should be filed in the nearest police station. All the details of bike should be told and the owner of bike should take the copy of FIR which would be important in the process of getting insurance claim. After FIR if registered, police will start the investigation process.
- Second step which should be taken is to file the insurance claim. All the Insurance companies have different policies so owner of stolen bike should take every detail regarding the process and submission of documents.
- Regional Transport Office (RTO) should be informed of the theft and RTO transfer papers should be taken from the office.
- Nextly, the owner of the vehicle should submit the insurance claim form and the necessary documents to the Insurance company. The documents which are to be submitted are as follows:
- Insurance policy documents
- Claim settlement form
- Copy of Registration Certificate
- Copy of driving license
- Original FIR copy
- RTO documents[i]
Insurance claim for stolen bike
Chances of recovery of stolen two wheeler are less than four wheelers so it is very important to take a comprehensive motorcycle insurance in order to recover the financial loss which occurs when the bike is stolen. If the bike is stolen and could not be recovered then the amount equal to monetary value of the bike can be recovered through the insurance policy. But if the owner of stolen bike does not have comprehensive motorcycle insurance then no claim can be made. Before taking the policy, it is also essential to read the terms to avoid any further confusion.
In Vipin Miglani v. National Insurance Co. Ltd, the plaintiff stated that the bike was properly locked and parked inside the main gate of his factory and he followed all the necessary steps such as registering FIR, submitting claim form, insurance policy copy, untraceable report, loan statement of ICICI bank with report that no installment was pending. Therefore, in this case, insurance company was made liable to indemnify the loss of Rupees 38,618 (the amount of stolen vehicle).
Punishment under IPC
Any person who commits theft can be charged under Indian Penal Code. If the police is able to trace the bike then the person who has committed the theft can be punished. Committing theft is an offence according to Section 378. Section 378 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 says “Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.”
Section 379 specifies the punishment for theft. It states, “Whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.” Therefore, maximum punishment is 3 years with or without fine.
Theft is non-bailable offence but under Section 436 of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, bail can be filed and it is the discretion of court to grant bail or not.
In Vijay v. State of Rajasthan through pp, accused- applicant was charged under the Section 379 of IPC in the case of theft of bike and he filed bail application under Section 436. Several FIRs were lodged against him so his application was rejected by the court.
On the other hand, in Hansraj v. State of Rajasthan through pp, the accused applicant was granted bail under Section 436 of CRPC. In this case the accused was involved in two cases of theft and attempt to commit theft and was behind the bars for 1 year so the applicant was released on bail.
According to Section 181(5) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, any offence which includes the possession of stolen property may be inquired into or tried by a Court:
- within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or
- the stolen property was possessed by any person who received or retained it knowing or having reason to believe it to be stolen property.
In Hiralal v. State of Rajasthan and anr., FIR regarding the theft of bike was registered at the police station of Karauli within whose local jurisdiction theft was committed but FIR was also registered at police station of Khander Kalan because the bike was recovered by the police of Khander Kalan. So in this case the petitioner contended that as two FIRs were registered against him in different police stations so he was being prosecuted at two places. Therefore, the court made an order to transfer the proceedings arising out of FIR filed at Police Station Karauli to the court of Judicial Magistrate Khander Kalan.
As the incidents like theft of vehicles can occur anytime so the proper steps should be taken in order to ensure that your loss gets minimum. Theft is an offence under Section 378 of IPC and the accused can be punished for a term extending upto 3 years. However, the proper process should be followed like filing police report and then completing the formalities and procedure of Insurance company in order to get the insurance claim. These steps should be taken as soon as possible to recover one’s bike or to get the insurance claim.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Icicilombard.com, What to do if your insured bike is stolen, https://www.icicilombard.com/insurance-information/home-insurance-info/article/what-to-do-if-your-insured-bike-is-stolen (Last visited: August 16, 4.35 PM)