Published on: August 8, 2022 at 19:00 IST
The Delhi High Court has observed that although a sex worker is entitled to all the rights which are available to a citizen, she cannot claim special treatment if she violates the law.
Justice Asha Menon observed: “No doubt, a sex worker is entitled to all-rights available to a citizen, but at the same time, if she violates the law, she would be subjected to the same consequences under law and cannot claim any special treatment. “
The Court made the observation while denying interim bail to a woman, a sex worker, who had allegedly forced a minor girl into prostitution and did not allow her to leave the brothel house. As per the prosecution’s case, the petitioner was found in a brothel house from where 13 minor girls were rescued.
After rescue operations, the FIR was registered under 363, 366A, 368, 370, 370A, 372, 376 and 34 of IPC read with sec. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act read with sec. 6 and 17 of the POCSO Act. The petitioner sought interim bail of about a week on the ground that her mother required urgent knee replacement surgery.
The State had opposed the grant of interim bail by submitting that the prosecutrix was yet to be examined and that the trial would suffer if bail was granted. It was also submitted that the petitioner, being a sex worker, would indulge in the same activity, if released.
The complainant argued that if the petitioner is released on interim bail, she would try to influence the prosecutrix, as out of the 13 minors rescued, only one had the courage to come in the open. It was added that considering the nature of the case, granting interim bail would only hinder the process of trial.
The allegations were denied by the petitioner arguing that she was not responsible for the trafficking of minors as no allegations were made against her that she had prevented the minors from escaping. It was also submitted that except for one prosecutrix, all the others had denied that they had been trafficked and had told the police that they were in the brothel of their own free will.
“There is no gainsaying that the girls were rescued from the brothel where the applicant was also soliciting customers. It becomes a matter of concern, for she too could try to reach out to the prosecutrix to try and influence her and/or prevent her from testifying before the court, “the Court said.
Observing that the brothel owner “Mala Lama” also known as “Punjabi Did'” and “Nani” was arrested only on 11th July, 2021 from Mumbai after much concerted efforts, the Court was of the view that the probability of petitioner escaping from the law was very high.
“No doubt, the present applicant was arrested from the brothel on 19th March, 2021, and it was on the identification of the prosecutrix. The probability of her escaping from the law is very high,” the Court said.
It added “No doubt, a sex worker is entitled to all rights available to a citizen, but at the same time, if she violates the law, she would be subjected to the same consequences under law and cannot claim any special treatment. The applicant has been accused of offences not merely under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, but also under Sections 370 IPC Act, 1956, but also under Sections 370 IPC (Trafficking of person) and 372 IPC (Selling minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.) which are extremely serious offences.”
The Court thus dismissed the plea after opining that serious allegations were made against the petitioner and also the fact that the prosecutrix was yet to be examined by Trial Court.