PROSTITUTION NOT A CRIME, SAYS BOMBAY HC, ORDERS RELEASE OF DETAINED SEX WORKERS

Observing that prostitution is not a criminal offence under the law and adult women are entitled to their fundamental right to choose their vocation, Justice Prithviraj Chavan of Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the administration to immediately release three women sex workers detained at a corrective home for almost one year.

Last year, officials raided a guest house in Malad and “rescued” the three women and arrested their pimp under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. Interpreting the wording of the Act, Justice Chavan remarked, “What is punishable under the Act is sexual exploitation or abuse of person for commercial purposes and to earn the bread, except where a person is carrying on prostitution in a public place or is found soliciting or seducing another person,” The Times of India reported.

Further, the HC criticised a metropolitan magistrate for not handing over the women to their respective mothers and ordered their detention in a corrective home as he learnt that the trio belonged to a particular community which has a tradition of indulging in prostitution. The HC also criticised the Dindoshi sessions court for upholding the detention of the three women against their consent.

Holding that adult women are entitled to their right to move freely and choose their profession, Justice Chavan quashed the orders issued by the magistrate and the sessions court and ordered the release of the three women.

(Includes Inputs from Times Now)

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