Customers of Brothels may be Charged under Immoral Traffic Act for Procuring Person for Prostitution: Kerala High Court

Justice PG Ajithkumar pointed out that although the term “procure” is not defined in the ITP Act, “procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution” is illegal under Section 5.

According to a recent ruling by the Kerala High Court, a customer of a brothel may be brought up in court under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITP Act).

Justice PG Ajithkumar pointed out that although the term “procure” is not defined in the ITP Act, “procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution” is illegal under Section 5.

As a result, the Court believed that the meaning of the word must be interpreted in light of both the context in which it is used and the purpose of the statute. Seen in this light, the Court determined that a customer of a brothel is subject to punishment under Section 5 of the ITP Act.

“Preventing the commercialization of vices and the trafficking of women and girls is the main goal of the statute, as stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “procure” means “to get possession of” or “to obtain something. A person who acquires domain over another person with the intention of prostitution is considered to have procured that person, if the definition of “procure” as stated above is taken into consideration in relation to the stated objective of the Statute. According to that interpretation of the situation, a customer is also covered by Section 5 of the ITP Act,” the Court stated in its ruling.

The decision was made in response to a criminal revision petition filed by a man who was discovered using a brothel. Sections 3 (keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be kept as a brothel), 4 (living on the earnings of prostitution), 5 (procuring, inducing or taking a person for prostitution), and 7 (prostitution in or near public places) of the ITP Act were among the offenses for which he was charged.

The petitioner initially went to a magistrate court with a discharge application, but it was denied and charges were ordered to be brought against him. He filed an appeal against this ruling in the High Court.

The petitioner was discharged from court for the offenses under Sections 3, 4, and 7 after the court reviewed the ITP Act’s provisions and took the case’s facts and circumstances into account. On the other hand, it decided that the petitioner could face charges for the offense under Section 5.

[Abhijith v. State of Kerala]

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