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A Victim Of Prostitution Cannot Be Prosecuted Under Section 5 Of The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act: Karnataka High Court

Sanskriti Tiwari ,
  24 June 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
Karnataka High Court
Brief :

Citation :
2024 : KHC : 20458

CASE NAME:

Mrs. Swathi vs. The State of Karnataka

CASE DATE:

10th June, 2024

PARTIES INVOLVED:-

  • Petitioner:-

1.    Mrs. Swathi

  • Respondent:-

1.    The State of Karnataka

2.    Smt. Revati

BENCH/JUDGE:

Justice M. Nagaprasanna

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:-

  1. ection 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956:- 

Deals with the offense of procuring or attempting to procure any person for prostitution purposes. 

SUBJECT:-

The petitioner, Mrs. Swathi, challenged proceedings in C.C.No.1397/2013 under Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. As a victim of prostitution, the Court found prosecuting her illegal and quashed the case, citing that victims aren’t punishable under the Act.

OVERVIEW:-

  • The petitioner, accused No.8, was involved in a case where the police intercepted a vehicle on National Highway 66. 
  • The vehicle was transporting several girls, including the petitioner, from Udupi to Goa for prostitution. 
  • Accused No.1 and 9 allegedly organized the transport, paying Rs.10,000 each to engage the girls in prostitution. 
  • This led to the registration of Crime No.16/2013 and the filing of a charge sheet under Section 5 of the Act. 
  • The petitioner challenged the proceedings, arguing she was a victim, not a perpetrator and thus should not be prosecuted under the Act.

ISSUES RAISED BEFORE THE COURT:-

  1. Whether the petitioner should be prosecuted under Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act?

CONTENTIONS RAISED ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER:-

  • The learned counsel for the petitioner, Shri Kumara, argued that petitioner was a victim of prostitution orchestrated by other accused and should not be prosecuted under Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.
  • It was contended that there were several legal deficiencies in the case, making the proceedings against the petitioner fundamentally flawed and illegal.
  • The counsel argued that the Act did not penalize victims of prostitution; therefore, prosecuting the petitioner would be a misapplication of the law.

CONTENTIONS RAISED ON BEHALF OF THE RESPONDENT:-

  • The learned counsel for the respondent, Shri BN Jagdeesh, argued that the case being 10 years old should proceed to trial even if the petitioner claimed to be a victim of the situation. 
  • He maintained that there were no legal grounds to dismiss the proceedings against the petitioner as the charges were based on the evidence and filed appropriately.

ANALYSIS MADE BY THE COURT:-

  • Acknowledging that the petitioner was being transported for prostitution, the court recognized her status as a victim rather than a perpetrator. 
  • The court noted that the Act does not penalize victims of prostitution but rather targets those who procure individuals for such purposes.

JUDGMENT:-

The court ruled that prosecuting the petitioner, who was recognized as a victim of prostitution rather than a perpetrator under Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, would constitute an abuse of the legal process. 

CONCLUSION:-

The court allowed the criminal petition filed by the petitioner. It quashed the proceedings pending before the Additional Civil Judge and JMFC, Kundapura. 

The decision aligned with legal principles that do not penalize victims of prostitution under the Act, ensuring justice and preventing further legal injustice in this context.
 

 
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