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Mere presence of the person in the brothel during raid doesn’t entail penal consequences: Madras HC

Socio Legal Corp


Udhaya Kumar vs. The State & others.

The petitioner was found with sex workers during raid in the massage centre. The police arrested treated him as accused and charges offences on him. He was booked u/s 3(2) a, 4(1), 5(1), 5(1) d of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and 320(2) of IPC. The petitioner argued that doing sex work is not illegal but running a brothel is illegal.

He submitted that the sex workers present in the act of prostitution are of their own volition and free from coercion and inducement. Hearing this, the prosecution u/s 320(2) IPC against the petitioner was warranted by the court.

The documents submitted by the petitioner crystal clears the allegation on him was unjust. The FIR didn’t show enough evidence that the petitioner was the accused, instead the brothel was actually run by Accused 1. Though in the alteration report the petitioner name was included but found no such offences committed by him except his presence.

The court considering the decision of Budhadev Karmaskar vs. The State of WB & others, where SC said that no person who is involved in the sex work should be prosecuted, only the person who runs the brothel should be prosecuted during raids.

The Madras HC relied on the above decision and quashed the proceedings against the petitioner which found lack of evidence, and no coercion on the sex workers to commit such act against their volition.

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