Sex Workers Cannot Invoke Law to Resist Eviction From Brothels: SC

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act cannot be used by alleged sex workers to resist their eviction from brothels.

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Sex workers at a demonstration in Sonagachi. Photo used for representational purpose. (Photo: Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee)

The Supreme Court on Friday said that the provisions of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act can’t be invoked by alleged sex workers to resist their eviction from brothels, that have been directed to be closed by the courts.

If notice had to be given (to every occupant of brothel) then the implementation of the provision of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act would be impossible, said the apex court. 

The bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy said that such an interpretation (of Section 18 of the Act) would be “absurd, illogical, unrealistic, impractical and would defeat the purpose of law.”

The court’s observation came after counsel Kamini Jaiswal appeared for two petitioners residing in a brothel in Delhi.

Do you think that all the occupants of the place that has been directed to be evicted by the subordinate court as well as the high court should be given a separate notice?
Supreme Court 

Petitioners approached the court, contesting the Delhi High Court order which upheld an earlier verdict, convicting three alleged sex workers. The court also directed the eviction of those residing in two places used as brothels, and the closure of the latter.

Those in-charge of the two brothels were convicted on charges of trafficking of minor girls under the act.

As the vacation bench rejected all pleas against the eviction of around 38 people from these two places, Jaiswal referred to the judgements by which the apex court had directed the formulation of schemes for the rehabilitation of sex workers.

Jaiswal told the bench that despite the direction of the Supreme Court, the Delhi government had not taken any steps for their rehabilitation and that they are being thrown out.

In a statement, the DCW described the apex court’s rejection of the petitions as a “positive development”.

This is an extremely positive development. Many women and minor girls are regularly being rescued from the brothels at GB Road and even though the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act has provisions for closure of brothels involved in trafficking, not a single brothel has been closed till date.
Delhi Commission for Women

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