15. Search without warrant.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, whenever the special police officer or the trafficking police officer as the case may be, has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence punishable under this Act has been or is being committed in respect of a person living in any premises, and that search of the premises with warrant cannot be made without undue delay, such officer may, after recording the grounds of his belief, enter and search such premises without a warrant.
(2) Before making a search under subsection (1), the special police officer or the trafficking police officer, as the case may be shall call upon two or more respectable inhabitants (at least one of whom shall be a woman) of the locality in which the place to be searched is situate, to attend and witness the search and may issue an order in writing to them or any of them so to do:
Provided that the requirement as to the respectable inhabitants being from the locality in which the place to be searched is situate shall not apply to a woman required to attend and witness the search.
(3) Any person who, without reasonable cause, refuses or neglects, to attend and witness a search under this section, when called upon to do so by an order in writing delivered or, tendered to him, shall be deemed to have committed an offence under Section 187 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
(4) The special police officer or the trafficking police officer, as the case may be, entering any premises under sub-section (1) shall be entitled to remove therefrom all the persons found therein.
(5) The special police officer or the trafficking police officer, as the case may be, after removing person under subsection (4) shall forthwith produce her before the appropriate Magistrate.
(5-A) Any person who is produced before a Magistrate under sub-section (5), shall be examined by a registered medical practitioner for the purposes of determination of the age of such person, or for the detection of any injuries as a result of sexual abuse or for the presence of any sexually transmitted diseases.
Explanation. -In this sub-section, “registered medical practitioner” has the same meaning as in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956).
(6) The special police officer or the trafficking police officer, as the case may be, and other persons taking part in, or attending, and witnessing a search shall not be liable to any civil or criminal proceeding against them in respect of anything lawfully done in connection with, or for the purpose of, the search.
(6-A) The special police officer or the trafficking police officer, as the case may be, making a search under this section shall be accompanied by at least two women police officers, and where any woman or girl removed under sub-section (4) is required to be interrogated it shall be done by woman police officer and if no woman police officer is available, the interrogation shall be done only in the presence of a lady member of a recognized welfare institution or organization.
Explanation. -For the purposes of this sub-section and Section 17-A, “recognised welfare institution or Organisation” means such institution or Organisation, as may be recognized in this behalf by the State Government.
(7) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) shall, so far as may be, apply to any search under this section as they apply to any search made under the authority of a warrant issued under 94 of the said Code.