Mere suspicion is not enough to prosecute the petitioner for offence punishable under S. 370 of the IPC for human trafficking; Kar HC observes in a case where AIO caught 3 Indian nationals on suspicion

Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna J. allowed the petition and quashed the proceedings in the case pending on the file of the Civil Judge and JMFC, Devanahalli, Bengaluru.

The facts of the case are such that an Assistant Immigration Officer at Bangalore International Airport caught 3 Indian nationals, who were intending to travel to Kaula Lampur by an Indigo flight being accompanied by another passenger by name Rajkumar – the petitioner. The passengers revealed that they were being taken by the petitioner to Kula Lampur for employment purposes on tourist VISAs. It was also informed that the petitioner was introduced to them by another agent named Kiran, based in Amritsar. Few of the persons who were questioned also indicated that they have paid some amounts to Rajkumar and others. Based upon the aforesaid interrogation and incident, a complaint came to be registered against the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 370 of the IPC. Aggrieved by the proceedings, the present petition was filed challenging the proceedings registered for the offences punishable under Section 370 of the IPC.

The Court after perusing complaint, charge sheet and Section 370 of the IPC observed that the petitioner had indulged himself in human trafficking and thus the soul of the provision is exploitation. There is no allegation in the complaint made by any victim alleging exploitation by the petitioner. The complaint, investigation and wavering statements of the persons, who accompanied the petitioner created suspicion in the mind of the Immigration Officer. The suspicion was on account of the statement of handing over of some cash to the petitioner by the people who accompanied him. This cannot in my considered view, be enough circumstance to prosecute the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 370 of the IPC for human trafficking.

The Court thus held “the petitioner would be acquitted for want of evidence, that would be an appropriate case where this Court would in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., obliterate such proceedings.”

[Rajkumar v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 660, decided on 23-03-2022]


Appearances

For petitioners- MRC Manohar

For respondents- K P Yashoda


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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