Customer cannot be prosecuted under Immoral Traffic Act: Calcutta HC | India News

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KOLKATA: A brothel client cannot be prosecuted under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 unless it is proven that he financially exploited the sex worker, Calcutta High Court has ordered .
The HC, while quashing an indictment against a INR businessman, said based on documents produced in court, it appeared that the NRI flew to Kolkata from Dubai and chose to have sex for money. The HC said the investigation did not suggest he had financially exploited the sex worker, even frequented the place or habitually lived with the sex worker. The HC said that unless proven, it would be impossible to prove that he aided and abetted the offence.
The case referred to January 2019, when the NRI businessman claimed that he reached Kolkata from Dubai. He claimed he had back pain and found a massage parlor on the internet and went there on CR Avenue. When the masseur attended to him, he claimed, police raided the premises and arrested everyone, including him. He then obtained a provisional bond.
According to the police, the businessman was caught red-handed in a brothel. During the raid, 10 people, including eight women, were arrested. The businessman, they said, was found in a compromising position with a sex worker. Justice Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee Monday said: ‘What is punishable under the law is the sexual exploitation or abuse of a person for commercial purposes and for earning a living by guarding or authorizing premises such as a brothel and also when a person engages in prostitution in a public place or when a person is found soliciting or seducing another person within the meaning of the Act I find nothing in the log of the case that could suggest that the present applicant lives on the earnings of prostitution.”
The HC also stated that “prostitution itself is not prohibited by law, but it is also true that a ‘client’ can practically encourage prostitution and can exploit the sex worker for money”, but this must be proven during the investigation. In this case, the HC said, even the sex worker the businessman was found with told police there was no coercion.



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