JOSEPH Vs. SUB INSPECTOR OF POLICE
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
SUB INSPECTOR OF POLICE
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(1.) THIS is a petition filed by accused 6 and 7 in Crime 318 of 2002 of Vadakkencherry Police Station for quashing the proceedings initiated against them pursuant to Annexure-A1 FIR and Annexure-A2 report in the above crime. The allegation is that on 21. 9. 2002 one Rajesh was going in a maruthi car along with Sudha Rajan, Raju and Kavya and the Sub Inspector of police, Vadakkencherry Police Station and party intercepted the vehicle and searched the vehicle and then it was found that they were going to Coimbatore. The allegation is that they were going in the maruthi car to Coimbatore for prostitution. Those who were in the car were arrested by the Sub Inspector of police and were taken to Vadakkencherry Police Station. Crime 318 of 2002 was registered against the persons who were there in the maruthi car alleging commission of offences under S. 3, 4, 5 (1) (c), 6, 7 and 9 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. Annexure-A1 is the copy of the FIR Petitioners were made accused in the crime during the course of investigation. Annexure-A2 is the report sent to court by the investigating agency saying that the petitioners also committed the offences.
(2.) ACCORDING to the petitioners, the proceedings in the crime have to be quashed for the reason that the Sub Inspector of Police who searched the vehicle and arrested accused 1 to 4 is not a special police officer or a trafficking police officer and hence the entire proceedings in pursuance of registering the crime are vitiated for non-compliance of the provisions of the Act. Learned counsel points out that S. 13 of the Act provides for appointment of a special police officer for dealing with the offences under the Act. What S. 13 says is that there shall be for each 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 the Act in that area. The submission made by the learned counsel for the petitioners is that the term used in S. 13 "dealing with offences" will take in detection, registering and investigation of the crime and those can be done only by a special police officer. Here, the detection and registering of the crime were done by the Sub Inspector of Police and the investigation is also being proceeded with by him. The request for quashing the proceedings in pursuance of the F. I. R. is made by saying that the investigation is being conducted by the sub Inspector of Police without any authority.
What is meant by the term "dealing with offences under the Act" used in S. 13 (1) of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in women and Girls Act, 1956 was considered by the High Court of Patna in State v. Mehro (AIR 1902 Punjab 91 ). In the above decision it was held that where a police officer is invested especially with the task of dealing with offences under S. 15 (1) of the Act, he cannot be deprived of the important function of investigating an offence under the Act, investigation being a part of police duties and that the word "dealing with offences" in S. 13 (1) of the act cannot be taken to mean something separate and distinguishable from the process of investigation though it has been found convenient to give separate labels wherever necessary to the different facets of police activity. It was held in the above decision that an investigation of the offence alleged to have been committed by the accused under S. 8 of the Act by a person who is not a special police officer under the Act is not legal.
In Superintendent and Remembrancer of Legal Affairs on behalf of State of West Bengal v. Sardar Bhadur Singh and others (1969) Crl. L. J. 1120) the High Court of Calcutta held that the expressions "police duties" and "dealing with offences" are of the widest amplitude and necessarily connote all that the police has to do in connection with the offences under the Act including detection, prevention and investigation. In delhi Administration v. Ram Singh (AIR 1962 SC 63) the Supreme Court held that the expression "dealing with offences" in S. 13 (1) of Suppression of immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act will include any act which the police has to do in connection with the offences under the Act. The expression "function in relation to offences" in S. 13 (3) also includes its functions connected with the investigation of the offences. What has to be understood in the light of what is said in the above decision is that the expression "dealing with offences under the Act" includes detection, registering of the crime and investigation of the crime. S. 13 provides for appointment of special police officer for each area to be specified by the state Government and in that section it is said that the appointment of special police officer is for dealing with offences under the Act. A plain reading of s. 13 would go to show that the detection, registering and investigation of the crime have to be done by the special police officer.
(3.) IN Delhi Administration v. Ram Singh it was observed that the special police officer is competent to investigate and he and his assistant police officers are the only persons competent to investigate the offences under the Act and that police officers not specially appointed as special police officers cannot investigate the offence under the Act even though they are cognizable offences. Such an observation made by the Supreme court would indicate that there will have to be a special police officer who can investigate the crime and then the assistant police officers also can conduct the investigation of the crime. Here, the detection and registering of the crime were done by the Sub INspector of Police who is not a special police officer appointed under S. 13 (1) of the Act.
S. 15 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act says how search can be conducted without warrant. The above section provides that whenever the special police officer has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence punishable under the Act has been or is being committed in respect of a person living in any premises and that search of the premises with warrant cannot be made without undue delay, such officer may, after recording the grounds of his belief, enter and search such premises without a warrant. As per the above provision search without warrant can be done only by a special police officer. There is no provision which says that the special police officer or the trafficking police officer can authorise any of the subordinate officers for conducting search without warrant. The allegation here was that the search was conducted by the Sub Inspector of Police who was not either a special police officer or a trafficking police officer. The crime was also registered by him. For the above reasons, the proceedings in the crime have to be quashed. This petition is allowed on quashing Annexure-A1 FIR and annexure-A2 report in Crime 318 of 2002 of Vadakkencherry Police Station and all proceedings pursuant to that report. . .;
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