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No Offence Of Abetment Under Section 14C Of Foreigners Act If There Was No Awareness About Visa Status Of Foreigners : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
26 Feb 2022 3:09 PM GMT
No Offence Of Abetment Under Section 14C Of Foreigners Act If There Was No Awareness About Visa Status Of Foreigners : Supreme Court
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Mere passivity and insouciance will not tantamount to offence of abetment, the Supreme Court observed while quashing prosecution of an Engineer under Foreigners Act.In this case, the appellant, while working as Senior Engineer (Construction) with Sprng Energy Private Limited allegedly facilitated visit by the two Chinese citizens who were on tourist visas to Rewa Solar Plant Project site....

Mere passivity and insouciance will not tantamount to offence of abetment, the Supreme Court observed while quashing prosecution of an Engineer under Foreigners Act.

In this case, the appellant, while working as Senior Engineer (Construction) with Sprng Energy Private Limited allegedly facilitated visit by the two Chinese citizens who were on tourist visas to Rewa Solar Plant Project site. First Information Report was registered against him for violation of Section 7 and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. However,  the said provision was not invoked in the charge sheet. But the Trial Court framed charges under these provisions.

Disapproving this, the Apex Court noted that for violation of Section 14-C, the requirement is that the accused should have abetted the offences under sections 14, 14-A and 14-B of the Foreigners Act.

"The word 'abet' is an essential ingredient of Section 14-C, and has received judicial interpretation. 'Abet' means to aid, to encourage or countenance. An abetment of the offence occurs when a  person instigates any person to do that offence or engages with another person(s) in doing that thing. Mere passivity and insouciance will not tantamount to offence of abetment.", the bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi said.

The court noted that there is no indication or allegation that the appellant was aware and had knowledge that the Chinese citizens had traveled on tourist visas.

"Prosecution has not been initiated against either Adarsh Kumar Singh or M/s P.S. Enterprises. They are not co-accused. Further, the Chinese citizens were issued a Leave India Notice on 21.04.2019 through Adarsh Kumar Singh. In the absence of any material and evidence, the allegation of abetment against appellant has no basis and foundation. In the aforesaid background, we do not see any reason why the prosecution should continue.", the court said while allowing the appeal.

Headnotes

Foreigners Act, 1946 - Section 14C - Abetment - Mere passivity and insouciance will not tantamount to offence of abetment - The word 'abet' is an essential ingredient - 'Abet' means to aid, to encourage or countenance. An abetment of the offence occurs when a person instigates any person to do that offence or engages with another person(s) in doing that thing.

Summary - Appellant Engineer accused of facilitating visit by two Chinese citizens who were on tourist visas to Rewa Solar Plant Project site - No indication or allegation that the appellant was aware and had knowledge that the Chinese citizens had traveled on tourist visas - Criminal proceedings quashed.

Case : Abinash Dixit vs State of Madhya Pradesh | CrA 267 OF 2022 | 22 Feb 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 218
Coram : Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi
Counsel: Sr. Adv Neeraj Kishan Kaul for appellant, AAG Sourabh Mishra for respondent State

Click here to Read/Download Order



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