NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has cancelled the bail granted to a woman and others, accused of running a prostitution racket and administering growth hormones to minors, including a nine-year-old girl, to force them into flesh trade.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and D Y Chandrachud considered the seriousness of the crime which entails punishment ranging from seven years imprisonment to life sentence for setting aside the Allahabad High Court order of July 27, 2016, granting bail to the woman and other accused in the case.
It held that the approach of the high court "cannot be said to be proper at all while enlarging the accused persons on bail in such a serious crime".
The accused have charged with section 370 (buying or disposing of any persons as a slave), section 373 (buying or obtaining possession of minor for the same purpose) and provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
"As many as 41 minor girls were rescued during a raid which was conducted on May 1, 2016. All of them were kept confined and were subjected to torture and harassment.
"It was also alleged that growth hormones were given to a nine-year-old girl for purpose of prostitution and similar treatment was given to others.
"They were forced and were actually put into prostitution. They were kept hungry, intoxicated with drugs etc. There is a gang which is operating to force minor girls into prostitution and is involved in human trafficking," the bench said.
The apex court said, "Considering the seriousness of the allegations, we are of the opinion that the high court ought not to have granted the bail in a mechanical manner without even noticing the facts of the case".
The woman and others were arrested after the raid was conducted at a brothel being run by her and 41 minor girls and other girls were rescued by the police.
The court said that since charges have been framed against the accused and a large number of witnesses need to be examined in connection with the case, it will be appropriate that the prosecution first examines the material witnesses.
It also directed the trial court to record the evidence at least for ten days in one month and complete the trial expeditiously.
The court asked the accused persons to cooperate in the trial and granted them liberty to approach it if there is undue delay in the trial.
The court's order came on a petition filed by NGO Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan challenging the bail granted to the accused.