Stating that the police filed a “choreographed” chargesheet, a Delhi court discharged AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan in a 2010 case.
Police had alleged that Khan, along with his associate, had obstructed and assaulted a public servant during a rescue operation of child labourers in Jamia Nagar in 2010. In 2015, police also charged Khan with “kidnapping” the rescued children.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal said, “This well-choreographed chargesheet has been filed by police (in 2016) against the accused… The time taken to investigate this case proved to be fatal to the case of prosecution. The investigation has been done in a belated, lethargic and lackadaisical manner over a prolonged period of time.”
As per court records, 15 children were rescued from Jamia Nagar when the alleged incident took place. Police registered a case under IPC sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 363 (kidnapping). Employers of the child labourers were booked under the JJ Act, but were not included in this case.
However, the court said to take cognizance of the offence under IPC Section 186 and to prosecute a person, a complaint by the public servant or his superior is mandatory under CrPC. “Therefore, if no complaint is made under CrPC Section 195 by that public servant, who has been obstructed, the court is not empowered to take cognizance and proceed,” the court said.
ACMM Vishal added that as per the complaint and the statement of witnesses to police, the rescue team was only obstructed from carrying out the operation and there was no allegation of “assault”. The court also noted that criminal intimidation was also not attracted in the case.
The court also noted that since the maximum punishment in all the offences, except kidnapping, is two years, the limitation period for filing the chargesheet becomes three years. In this case, the chargesheet was filed in 2016. The court said the case was barred by the “law of limitation”.
On kidnapping, the court said it was not the case of prosecution that the accused had taken or enticed these children from their lawful guardians. “Their employers or the rescue team cannot be said to be their guardians… If the offence of kidnapping has to be attributed, it has to be on their employers… it is clear that the probe agency has filed this chargesheet belatedly, and to cover the period, it seems that kidnapping has been added,” the ACMM said.