17. Intermediate custody, of persons removed under Section 15 or rescued under Section 16.
(1) When the special police officer removing a person under subsection (4) of Section 15 or a police officer rescuing a person under sub-section (1) of Section 16, is for any reason unable to produce her before the appropriate Magistrate as required by sub-section (5) of Section 15, or before the Magistrate issuing the order under sub-section (2) of Section 16, he shall forthwith produce her before the nearest Magistrate of any class, who shall pass such orders as he deems proper for her safe custody until she is produced before the appropriate Magistrate, or, as the case may be, the Magistrate issuing the order:
Provided that no person shall be,
(i) Detained in custody under this sub-section for a period exceeding tell days from the date of the order under this sub-section; or
(ii) Restored to or placed in the custody of a person who may exercise a harmful influence over her.
(2) When the person is produced before the appropriate Magistrate under subsection (5) of Section 15 or the Magistrate under sub-section (2) of Section 16, he shall, after giving her an opportunity of being heard, cause an inquiry to be made as to the correctness of the information received under subsection (1) of Section 16, the age, character and antecedents of the person and the suitability of her parents, guardian or husband for taking charge of her and the nature of the influence which the conditions in her home are likely to have on her if she is sent home, and, for this purpose, he may direct a Probation officer appointed under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, to inquire into the above circumstances and into the personality of the person and the prospects of her rehabilitation.
(3) The Magistrate may, while an inquiry is made into a case under sub-section (2), pass such orders, as he deems proper for the safe custody of the person:
Provided that where a person rescued under Section 16 is a child or minor, it shall be open to the magistrate to place such child or minor in any institution established or recognised under any Children Act for the time being in force in any State for the safe custody of children:
Provided further that no person shall be kept in custody for this purpose for a period exceeding three weeks from the date of such an order, and no person shall be kept ill the custody of a person likely to have a harmful influence over her.
(4) Where the Magistrate is satisfied, after making an inquiry as required under sub-section (2), –
(a) That the information received is correct; and
(b) That she is in need of care and protection,
He may, subject to the provisions of subsection (5), make an order that such person be detained for such period, being not less than one year and not more than three, as may be specified in the order, in a protective home, or in such other custody, as he shall, for reasons to be recorded in writing, consider suitable:
Provided that such custody shall not be that of a person or body of persons of a religious persuasion different from that of the person, and that those entrusted with the custody of the person, including the persons in charge of a protective home; may be required to enter into a bond which may, where necessary and feasible contained undertaking based on directions relating to the proper care, guardianship, education, training and medical and psychiatric treatment of the person as well as supervision by a person appointed by the Court, which will be in force for a period not exceeding three years.
(5) In discharging his functions under sub-section (2), a Magistrate may summon a panel of five respectable persons, three of whom shall, wherever practicable, be women, to assist him; and may, for this purpose, keep a list of experienced social welfare workers, particularly women social welfare workers, in the field of suppression of immoral traffic in persons.
(6) An appeal against an order made under sub-section (4) shall lie to the Court of Session whose decision on such appeal shall be final.