1. The Magistrates of the Juvenile Court, Madras, passed an order under Section 6, Clause (2) of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act that the three girls found hi a house which was considered by the Police to be a brothel should be committed to the Rescue Home attached to the Vigilance Association.
2. The Police searched a certain house and rescued these three girls and filed a case against the mother of two of the girls under Section 5 of the Act for keeping a brothel. After enquiry, the Magistrate acquitted her as there was no evidence that that woman (Kamalammal) had been actually allowing the house to be used for purposes of prostitution although there was evidence, which I do not think the Magistrate disbelieved, that two of the girls were actually engaged in prostitution when the house was raided by the Police.
3. The only objection which can be raised to the order passed by the Magistrates is that it was not really passed under Section 6(2) at all, in that the search made by the Inspector of the house in question was not made under Section 6(1). If the search had been made under Section 6(1), then the Magistrates would be competent to pass an order under Section 6(2), even though in some independent proceedings, a Magistrate had found that the person accused of running a brothel was not in fact doing so. It appears true that the warrant under which the Inspector made the raid of this house was issued - not under Section 6(1) - but under Sections 13 and 14. It was issued by the Commissioner of Police, Madras, to the Inspector authorising him to enter into the premises of No. 65, Elephant Gate Street, for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence punishable under Sections 9, 10, 11 or 12 of the said Act has been or is being committed, whether any woman or girl is living therein in respect of whom an offence punishable under Sections 9, 10, 11 or 12 of the Act has been committed and to arrest them under Section 13, in case he is satisfied that any of the offences punishable under the said sections had been committed. The Commissioner of Police is also a Magistrate; and if the nature of the warrant issued indicated that the Commissioner was satisfied that the girls under the age of 18 years had been carrying on business of prostitution in a brothel, then it might be argued that although the order was issued under Section 13, it might be considered to be an order under Section 6(1) also. But it is clear from the order that the Commissioner of Police was not satisfied that there were girls in the house under 18 years of age carrying on the business of prostitution. His order was merely one authorising an Inspector to ascertain whether certain offences under the Act were being committed there. The order passed by the learned Magistrates of the Juvenile Court was not therefore an order passed under Section 6(2) and has therefore to be set aside. This is unfortunate, as I have no doubt that the girls would be better off where they are now than in the house of ill fame from which they have been taken.
4. The petitions are therefore allowed and the girls against whom the order has been passed by the Magistrates of the juvenile Court will be released.