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No provision under law to penalise a victim who indulges in prostitution: Karnataka High Court

'What is punishable is sexual exploitation for commercial purposes and to earn or make a living upon it against such person/s,' Justice Nagaprasanna said.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 15:13 IST

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Bengaluru: There is no provision under the law, which penalizes a victim who indulges in prostitution, the high court has observed in a recent judgement. Justice M Nagaprasanna said this while allowing the petition filed by a 29 years old woman from Koppal taluk in Chikkamagaluru district.

The petitioner was named accused no eight in the case pending before a JMFC court at Kundapura for offence punishable under section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention (ITP) Act, 1956.

According to the allegations, the petitioner along with other girls were lured and being transported from Udupi to Goa to indulge in prostitution by paying Rs 10,000 each. The police had intercepted the vehicle and rescued them. Subsequently, a charge sheet was also filed.

Challenging the proceeding, the petitioner claimed that she was a victim at the hands of other accused and hence should not be permitted to be prosecuted.

On the other hand, the government advocate argued that the case is more than 10 years old and the petitioner should not be allowed to knock on the doors of the court belatedly, even if she were to be a victim.

Justice Nagaprasanna noted that section 5 of the ITP Act nowhere indicates that a woman who is a victim of prostitution should be punished for offences punishable. The court said the provision clearly indicates that any person who procures or attempts to procure a woman or a girl for the purpose of prostitution would become liable for such prosecution.

“What is punishable is sexual exploitation for commercial purposes and to earn or make a living upon it against such person/s,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The court also cited a Bombay High court judgement which said that if the victim is allowed to be prosecuted, the same would become an abuse of law.

“In the light of the admitted fact that the petitioner/accused no 8 is a victim and notwithstanding the fact that she is a victim of prostitution, if further trial is permitted to continue it would become an abuse of the process of law and result in patent injustice,” the court said.

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Published 24 June 2024, 15:13 IST

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