Not Mandatory To Call Two ‘Respectable’ Persons For A Raid Under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act: Rajasthan HC [Read Order]

Not Mandatory To Call Two ‘Respectable’ Persons For A Raid Under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act: Rajasthan HC [Read Order]

It is to be determined by the courts whether it was efficacious for the officers to call two persons from the locality or due to urgency or emergency, the said provision could not be complied with, the court said.

Mere violation of Section 15(2) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act will not vitiate the search proceedings, the Rajasthan High Court has held.

Section 15(2) of the Act stipulates that before making a search without warrant, the special police officer or the trafficking police officer, shall call upon two or more respectable inhabitants (at least one of whom shall be a woman) of the locality in which the place to be searched is situated, to attend and witness the search.

A girl who was arrested for the offences under the Immoral Traffic Act pursuant to raid done by a circle inspector had approached the high court contending that  in terms of the Section 15(2) of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, two or more respectable inhabitants of the locality out of which one should be woman were not called and hence, the search carried not in consonance with the provisions of the Act, shall vitiate. The other contention was that the investigating officer was not notified as a Special Police Officer under the Act.

As regards Section 15(2), Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia observed: “It is settled legal position that the said provision is only directory and not mandatory. In every case, on the touchstone of Section 15(2) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, it is to be determined by the courts whether it was efficacious for the officers to call two persons from the locality or due to urgency or emergency, the said provision could not be complied with. It will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Mere violation of Section 15(2) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act will not vitiate the proceedings, as it will be in the realm of appreciation of evidence in each and every case.”

As regards the other argument, the bench said the Superintendent of Police cum Circle Officer is a Special Police Officer within the ambit of Section 13 of the Act and therefore the investigation carried by him is perfectly valid.

Read the Order Here