Madras High Court cites SC judgement, says don’t arrest, penalise sex workers

Court said sex workers should not be arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised and it is only the running of the brothel that is unlawful.

Published: 19th June 2022 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2022 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational Image. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court recently ruled that sex workers should not be arrested or penalised whenever a brothel house is raided by the police.Quashing an FIR registered against a customer of a brothel house, Justice N Satish Kumar cited a recent Supreme Court judgement, which had held that whenever a brothel is raided, sex workers should not be arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised and it is only the running of the brothel that is unlawful.

“In the case on hand, merely because the petitioner was in the place, which is alleged by the respondents (police) to be a brothel being run by some person, the petitioner cannot be fastened with any penal consequence and further, the act of the petitioner also cannot be said to be an act of pressurising the sex workers to commit acts, which they were not interested (in),” the judge said.

The judge was hearing a petition filed by one Udayakumar, who was arrested from a brothel house in Chintadripet. The allegation against him was that when the police raided the massage centre, the petitioner was present along with the sex workers and he was apprehended and arraigned as accused number five (A-5).The judge said, as per the FIR, the petitioner was not present while sex workers were in the said massage centre and he was not shown as an accused.

However, only in the alteration report, the petitioner is shown as A-5. “Even if the entire report was taken at its face value, the said report did not show any offence committed by the petitioner, except for his alleged presence at the said place. Further, there was no material to show that he was involved in any sexual act at the said place and that the persons, who had been rescued from the said place had made any allegation against any of the individuals, much less the petitioner.”

As per the Supreme Court’s judgement, police should refrain from taking action against any sex worker who is an adult and indulging in a sexual act on his/her own volition, the judge said. “From the facts, as is evident from the FIR and the alteration report, there was no whisper about any coercion on the sex workers to commit the act, more so from the petitioner. That being the case, the petitioner not being alleged to be a person coercing the sex worker to commit the sexual act, continuing the FIR against the petitioner was nothing but a futile exercise and would serve no purpose,” the judge added and quashed the case against the petitioner.

‘No purpose’ in case against customer
Quashing an FIR against a customer of a brothel house, the court said he was not alleged to be a person coercing a sex worker to commit a sexual act, and added that the FIR against him would “serve no purpose”



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