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Investigation & Arrest Under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act To Be Conducted By Special Police Officer; Power Cannot Be Delegated: Kerala High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
30 Nov 2020 8:37 AM GMT
Investigation & Arrest Under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act To Be Conducted By Special Police Officer; Power Cannot Be Delegated: Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court has made it clear that any investigation or arrest under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 has to be conducted only by a Special Police Officer authorized in that behalf. It has been held that there is no provision in the Act that empowers such Special officer to authorise the investigation of the case to be conducted by any other Police...

The Kerala High Court has made it clear that any investigation or arrest under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 has to be conducted only by a Special Police Officer authorized in that behalf.

It has been held that there is no provision in the Act that empowers such Special officer to authorise the investigation of the case to be conducted by any other Police officer.

The observation is made by a Bench of Justice MR Anitha in an application for quashing of FIR filed by a lodge owner, who was booked under the Act.

As per the facts of the case, Circle Inspector of Police, Perinthalmanna conducted a search in the lodge run by the Petitioner and found that the accused No. 2 to 7 were inside the lodge rooms engaged in prostitution for money.

The accused were arrested and a case was registered. Thereafter, Circle Inspector, Pandikkad conducted the investigation, questioned the witnesses and filed charge under Secs 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

According to the petitioner, under the provisions of the Act, arrest and investigation has to be conducted by a Special Police Officer as provided under Section 2(i) and 13 of the Act.

[Section 13 states: There shall be for such area to be specified by the State Government in this behalf a special police officer appointed by or on behalf of that Government for dealing with offences under this Act in that area.]

In this case, he pointed out, the investigation was conducted by Circle Inspector, Pandikkad whereas the place of occurrence of the alleged incident was within the jurisdiction of Perinthalmanna police station.

It was also his contention that there is no provision under the Act to empower the special police officer to authorise investigation of the case to be conducted by any other officer.

Finding merit in this submission, the High Court held,

"Section 14(ii) does not empower the Special Police Officer i.e. Inspector of Police, Perinthalmanna to authorise the investigation of the case to be conducted by the Police Inspector, Pandikkad. So the investigation conducted by the Inspector of Police, Pandikkad who is not the Special Police Officer is not in compliance with the provisions of law. So as rightly contended by the learned counsel, the criminal prosecution initiated against the petitioner based on the final report filed by the Circle Inspector, Pandikkad is not sustainable in law."

[Section 14(ii) states: when the special police officer requires any officer subordinate to him to arrest without warrant otherwise than in his presence any person for an offence under this Act, he shall give that subordinate officer an order in writing, specifying the person to be arrested and the offence for which the arrest is being made; and the latter officer before arresting the person shall inform him of the substance of the order and, on being required by such person, show him the order.]

Reliance was placed on Joseph v. State of Kerala, 2011 (2) KHC 958, whereby while dealing with Sections 3, 4, 5, 14 (ii) of the Act, the High Court had held that authorisation given by the Special Police Officer to his subordinate officer must mention the name of any of the persons to be arrested. It is also held that Special Police Officer cannot authorise investigation of the case to be conducted by any other officer.

The Court observed that the Government of Kerala has appointed Circle Inspector of Police attached to the police stations in the State as Special Police Officers for dealing with offences under the Act within their respective area of jurisdiction.

Perinthalmanna and Pandikkad have been given under the separate jurisdictional limits and that would in turn indicate that Circle Inspector of Police, Perinthalmanna would be Special Police Officer within the jurisdiction of Perinthalmanna circle and the Circle Inspector of Police, Pandikkad would be the Special Police Officer within the Pandikkad circle.

In this backdrop the Bench quashed the FIR and criminal proceedings, and observed,

"Circle Inspector of Police, Pandikkad will not be the Special Police Officer with respect to a crime committed within the jurisdictional limits of Perinthalmanna circle.

So, in view of the settled position of law, the final report filed by the Inspector of Police, Pandikkad who is not the Special Police Officer empowered under Section 13 of the Act is not in compliance with the provisions of the Act and hence is not sustainable in law."

Case Title: Ali Ahammed v. State of Kerala

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