Bombay high court gives reprieve to Israeli flier caught travelling with live cartridge
In a reprieve for a 61-year-old Israeli national, the Bombay high court has recently struck down her prosecution for purportedly carrying a live cartridge in her luggage while flying to India. The division bench of Justice RM Savant and Justice Sarang Kotwal struck down the criminal case, and noted that Rachelle Joel Oseran had carried the live cartridge in her luggage inadvertently.
Oseran works as a childbirth educator and yoga and pilates instructor. In addition, she also brings tourist groups from Israel and other parts of the world to India for educational trips known as ‘Mindful India Seminars.’ On March 1, 2015, she arrived at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport as a part of one such seminar. During security check, she was found to be travelling with a 5.56-mm rifle cartridge.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) staff handed her over to the Sahar police station and an FIR was registered under sections 3 and 25 of the Arms Act, for purportedly carrying the ammunition without a licence. Oseran claimed that she had taken the bag from a friend and a travel agent to carry sweets and other eatables to be distributed to children in an orphanage. The travel agent’s husband, who had just finished his compulsory military training in Israel, had forgotten the live cartridge inside the bag, she claimed.
After the police refused to believe her explanation, she approached high court. She sought that the criminal proceedings against her be quashed on the ground that the possession was not a conscious one. Her lawyer submitted to the high court that as she was carrying the cartridges without conscious knowledge, it did not constitute as an offence under those particular sections of the Arms Act. The bench accepted her contention and struck down the prosecution.