1990 AIR 1412
Justice S.R. Pandian; Justice K. Jayachandra Reddy
Due to poverty and unemployment, many children are forced to work in manual labor or as maids but, those who get into the hands of people like pimps and brothel keepers are deceived by them, and eventually pushed into ‘Flesh trade’. The trauma they suffered after living in claustrophobic rooms for countless days makes them fearful of the outside world and they may suffer psychological problems for an infinite duration of time. Some of them may be unwilling to live a life of respect and dignity after suffering so much in their life and may surrender to the end of life. The petition was filed by a vigilant citizen Vishal Jeet, he requested the Hon’ble Supreme Court to give direction for inquiry of those police officials in whose jurisdiction the practice of forced prostitution, devdasi system, and jogin traditions were used widely and for rehabilitation of those who become victims of such system.
Whether Supreme Court can issue guidelines or not?
Indian Constitution– Article 23: Provides that exploitation against human beings in the form of begar, forced labor, and trafficking of human beings must be prohibited and anyone who contravenes this law is punishable with the due procedure of law.
Article 32: It gives a citizen of India, Right to Approach the Supreme Court in case of violation of any right mentioned in Part 3 of the Indian Constitution. Supreme Court has the power to issue writs whichever is suitable for enforcement of violated Fundamental rights.
Article 35: Any offenses committed against any individual under Part 3 of the Indian Constitution must be punishable with the suitable legislation enacted by Parliament.
Article 39 Clause (e): It directs that it’s a duty of the state to protect men and women are treated well and children must not be pushed to work in factories or any working companies due to their economic conditions.
Article 39 Clause (f): States must ensure that all children are treated with dignity and healthy manner and must not be exploited.
Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956– This act was made with the objective of punishing those who are involved in trading human beings as products for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Indian Penal Code, 1860– Section 366A: Anyone who by whatever means forces or deceives a minor girl to do anything where she will be forced to be in illicit with another person shall be punishable with fine and 10 years imprisonment.
Section 366B: Any person who is importing a girl under the age of 21 years from any country that is not India knowing that she would be forced to have illicit intercourse with another person shall be punishable with imprisonment of 10 years with a fine.
Section 372: Any person who sells or buys a girl under the age of 18 years for the purpose of prostitution or is forced to have illicit intercourse with another person would be punished with imprisonment up to 10 years and liable to pay a fine.
Section 373: Anyone who buys or has possession of a minor where she would be forced to have illicit intercourse with another person shall be punished with a fine and imprisonment up to 10 years.
Juvenile Justice Act, 1986– Section 13: Empowers a police officer or any other official appointed by the state government to look after any neglected juvenile and bring them within the umbrella framework of this act.
Section 15: The Board can hold an inquiry under this act and can pass order which it may deem fit in favor of Juvenile.
DECISION OF COURT
Supreme Court denied giving any directions in this regard on the opinion that this is a socio-economic problem, hence, the measures must be taken carefully giving more emphasis to the prevention of such incidents and not the aftermath of such events. To obtain better results government must keep the laws in check. Supreme Court was of the opinion that issuing direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to enquire throughout India about the social evils that girl children may face is not possible. The Supreme Court after hearing contentions of both the parties stated that both the Central and State government should organize a committee that would give advice to the government on the need for schemes for care, protection, and rehabilitation of victims of ‘Flesh Trade’. To suggest government laws that needed amendments and programs to create awareness among people who possibly may become victims of trafficking. Supreme Court also directed the government both at the state and central levels to ensure that Devdasi System and Jogin traditions come to an end. Governments must ensure the successful implementation of schemes made for the victims.
This case analysis is written by Simran Gulia, presently pursuing BA LLB from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies.