Criminal Revision No. 196 of 2017. Case: Sandeep Bhai Karathia Vs State of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh High Court

Case Number:Criminal Revision No. 196 of 2017
Party Name:Sandeep Bhai Karathia Vs State of Chhattisgarh
Counsel:For Appellant: Vivek Tripathi, Advocate and For Respondents: Smita Ghai, Panel Lawyer
Judges:Anil Kumar Shukla, J.
Issue:Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Sections 161, 227, 228, 397, 401; Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 27; Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) - Sections 34, 370, 370(1), 370(3)
Judgement Date:March 01, 2017
Court:Chhattisgarh High Court
 
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Order:

Anil Kumar Shukla, J.

1. This revision has been preferred under Section 397/401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the order dated 7.12.2016 passed in Sessions Trial No. 183 of 2015 by the 2nd Additional Sessions Judge, Sakti, District Janjgir-Champa by which the Petitioner has been charged under Section 370(3) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. Case of the prosecution, as per the charge framed by the Court below against the Petitioner, is that 1 year prior to 20.7.2015, the Petitioner along with Vijay Barman and Vikas Sonwani made a common intention and in furtherance of their common intention they took Aghanbai, Bhuribai, Pooja Barman and other villagers of Village Parsada, Police Station Hasaud, District Janjgir-Champa as also some villagers of nearby villages of the same police station, in total 22 villagers, in installments, without getting their names entered into the Register of Escapists of the Gram Panchayat and without informing the concerned Labour Officer, to Subhang Jalan of Uroplastic Factory, Utright US/A, Qualalumpur, Malaysia by alluring them that they will be given employment in the factory of Malaysia on high wages with medical and other facilities, but the villagers/labourers were not made available any facility there and on their showing unwillingness to work there they were bonded, forced and tortured to work there and thereby the Petitioner committed offence of human trafficking punishable under Section 370(3) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. Learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioner argued that the Petitioner has been implicated in the case on the basis of memorandum statement of co-accused Vijay Barman, but, in fact, there is no supporting material available on record against the Petitioner. No case is made out against the Petitioner under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code. It has not been complained by Complainant Aghanbai that her husband had been forcibly taken to Malaysia and was bonded there to work. Learned Counsel further argued that all the persons who had gone to Malaysia were well acquainted with the Petitioner and they had gone to work there willingly. The Petitioner had only made them available assistance for preparation of passport, visa and other certificates/documents. The villagers/labourers had gone to Malaysia according to the contract agreement entered into between the concerned company/employer and the labourers. Since the labourers wanted to return home early, action was taken against the Petitioner on the basis of the complaint made and media news. The villagers/labourers going to Malaysia were fully aware of all the instructions and working conditions of the concerned company/employer. The Petitioner had no role in this regard except to assist to take the villagers/labourers to Chennai. The Petitioner assisted the villagers to go to Malaysia in good faith. The Petitioner is neither contractor nor is he any agent of any company/factory of Malaysia. The Court below failed to appreciate the fact that the Petitioner himself had funded the entire arrangement of travel to Malaysia for the villagers/labourers and they had also coordinated with the Petitioner to get jobs for them. The Petitioner had also placed on record several materials before the Court below in support of his defence including a C.D. showing that the husband of the complainant had actually no problem while working in Malaysia. From the statements of the witnesses, no case is made out against the Petitioner under Section 370(3) of the Indian Penal Code. Therefore, the charge levelled against the Petitioner may be set aside and he be discharged.

4. Per contra, Learned Counsel appearing for the State submitted that an investigation was made by the police on the application submitted to the Collector, Janjgir-Champa by the relatives of the villagers/labourers who had gone to Malaysia. During the investigation, it was found that the Petitioner along with the other co-accused had made a common intention and in furtherance of their common intention they took villagers of Village Parsada, Police Station Hasaud, District Janjgir-Champa as also villagers of nearby villages of the same police station, in total 22 villagers, in installments, without getting their names entered into the Register of Escapists of the Gram Panchayat and without informing the concerned Labour...

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