Report No. 64
6.21. Section 17(1)-Amendment recommended.-
We now proceed to consider section 17. There are two provisions of the Act-sections 15 and 16- whereunder a girl under the age of 21 years, who is carrying on or being made to carry on prostitution, can be removed or rescued. Removal of the girl is dealt with in section 16 under which the proceedings are taken by a special police officer by way of search without warrant. Rescue is directed by a magistrate under section 16, and the direction again is issued to the special police officer. In both these sections, there, are provisions-section 15(4) and 16(2)-whereunder the special police officer, after removing or rescuing the girl, "shall forthwith produce her" before the appropriate magistrate (in a case governed by section 15) or before the magistrate issuing the order (in a case governed by section 16).
Now, a situation may arise where, owing to unavoidable reasons, the special police officer cannot produce the girl before such magistrate "forthwith". In such a case, section 17(1) requires the police officer to produce the girl before the nearest magistrate of any class. We are not concerned with the substance of this provision in section 17(1) but there appears to be scope for improvement in a point of detail. Section 17(1), when referring to the earlier sections, speaks of the special police officer who "fails to produce her immediately before the magistrate" but the earlier sections themselves use the word "forthwith". Hence the word "immediately" in section 17(1) is inaccurate. To remedy the inaccuracy, we have two alternatives-(i) to substitute the word "forthwith" in place of the word "immediately", or (ii) merely to remove the word "immediately".
If the first device is adopted, the word "forthwith" would occur twice in section 17(1). This repetition would be jarring. We therefore prefer the second alternative, and recommend the word "immediately" should be deleted from section 17(1).1
1. For re-draft, see para. 6.25, infra.