23 Sep 2020 11:22 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court on Monday (21st September) quashed the case against 5 Thailand nationals who were arrayed as an accused in Cr.No.14/2020 pending in C.C.No.10933/2020 on the file of Metropolitan Magistrate, Traffic Court, Bengaluru for the offence punishable under section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act.The Single Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha also observed that since all...
The Karnataka High Court on Monday (21st September) quashed the case against 5 Thailand nationals who were arrayed as an accused in Cr.No.14/2020 pending in C.C.No.10933/2020 on the file of Metropolitan Magistrate, Traffic Court, Bengaluru for the offence punishable under section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act.
The Single Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha also observed that since all the petitioners are the residents of Thailand, this Court is required to ensure that the petitioners are deported to their country.
The Case against the Thailand Nationals
The specific case of the prosecution was that the petitioners had entered India under tourist visa. Though it was alleged that in violation of the conditions of the visa, the petitioners were found employed in a massage centre, yet, no material was available to show that the petitioners were employed in a massage centre as Therapists at any point in time.
The Court observed that the documents produced by the prosecution in support of the charge go on to show that except the statement of the witnesses, no other clinching material is available in proof of the said accusations.
In fact, as the Court noted, even with regard to the statements of witnesses, it is pointed out that all these statements were recorded in proceedings No.13/2020 registered under sections 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the ITP Act and section 370 of IPC.
The Court remarked that the statements recorded in the said case (proceedings No.13/2020) were incorporated in the instant case to make out a case that the petitioners were working as Therapists in the said case.
The Court further said,
"By no stretch of the imagination, it could be believed that the customers who had taken therapy could have known the nationality of the petitioners or that the petitioners were the one who had given therapy at the relevant point of time, as such, there is no prima facie material to support the accusations leveled against the petitioners."
Also, the Court observed,
"As a result, the charge brought against the petitioners being groundless and not supported with any prima facie material, the prosecution of the petitioners for the above offences is wholly illegal and amounts to an abuse of process of the court and therefore, deserves to be quashed in exercise of powers under section 482 of Cr.P.C."
"Deport them back"
When Court asked the State to deport the petitioners back to their country, the counsel for respondent No.3 submitted before the Court that the petitioners have not applied for an exit permit through FRRO and NOC from the State Government is not issued and therefore, petitioners cannot be allowed to leave the country.
To this, the Counsel for the petitioners referred to the letter issued by Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai and submitted that the Royal Thai Government has arranged for the repatriation of Thai nationals and the petitioners are also eligible for travel in the said flight on 25.09.2020.
In this context, the Court observed,
"This document no doubt goes to show that such a flight has been arranged, but it does not satisfy the compliance of the legal requirements of the Exit Permit from the FRRO and NOC from the State Government."
Significantly, petitioner Nos.2 and 5 had already obtained the Exit Permits and the FRRO had instructed the other petitioners to file on-line exit applications.
If so, the Court said, the remaining petitioners are directed to make on-line applications for grant of Exit Permit to respondent No.3 immediately and shall obtain necessary NOC from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office of India and clearance from the State Police to the effect that no other cases are pending against petitioners.
Further, the Court ordered,
"Petitioners shall produce copies of all these documents through their counsel before this Court by 12.00 noon on 23.09.2020. If the on-line applications are submitted by the petitioners, the respondent No.3 shall pass necessary orders thereon, without any delay. In the event, the petitioners fail to produce the copies of the relevant documents obtained by them on or before 12.00 noon on 23.09.2020, the case shall be put up for orders at 2.30 p.m. on 23.09.2020 and necessary directions will be issued to withhold the onward journey of the petitioners to Thailand."
Case Title: Jantra Wanida v. State Of Karnataka
Case No.: Criminal Petition No. 4496 of 2020
Quorum: Justice John Michael Cunha
Appearance: Advocate Shanthi Bhushan H (For the Petitioners); HCGP R.D. Renukaradhya (For R1 & R 2); CGC Aditya Singh; ASG C. Shashikantha, (For R3)
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