The government pleader informed the court that as per the Act, the Union government is supposed to confer power on the police officers.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday directed the State government to appoint Special Police Officers under the Immoral Trafficking Act who can investigate cases of human trafficking. The court issued this direction while hearing PIL against human trafficking and flesh trade seeking appointment of such officers so that they could investigate such cases beyond the limits of the state so that kidnappers and sellers of victims could also be prosecuted.
In the past, the judges had directed the government to inform the court if the state has appointed special police officers, has conferred powers on them to exercise powers as special public police officer pursuant to provisions of section 13 (4) of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (ITPA), whether Anti Human Trafficking Units are established in the State of Maharashtra and whether the state had entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with other states in the country?
On Friday, the government informed the division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice B. H. Dangre that the state has entered into MoU with West Bengal and it has also established 12 cells under ITPA. The petitioner's lawyer Chetan Mali told the court that this will not help because the local police generally don't go beyond their jurisdiction and apart from pimps and brothel owners, others like kidnappers and sellers are not prosecuted. However, the bench expressed its displeasure over the fact that though special cells were established but special police officers were not appointed.
The government pleader informed the court that as per the Act, the Union government is supposed to confer power on the police officers. However, the lawyer representing the Central Government sought time to seek instructions and the court adjourned the hearing for four weeks.