Karnataka High Court reiterated that a customer found in a brothel at the time of raid cannot be prosecuted.
A single-judge bench of Karnataka High Court comprising Justice M Nagarpasanna was hearing a plea filed by Babu S. The bench quashed the proceedings pending against him under Section 3, Section 4, Section 5 and Section 6 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 and Section 370 (Trafficking of person) of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 3 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act deals with the punishment for keeping a brothel and allowing premises to be used as a brothel.
Section 4 of the Act provides punishment for living on the earnings of prostitution.
Section 5 of the Act deals with procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution.
Section 6 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act deals with the punishment for a person detained in premises where prostitution is carried on.
The bench noted that none of the activities are attributable to a customer.
“It is not in dispute that the petitioner was a customer in the brothel when the search was conducted by the respondent police. A customer, in a brothel, cannot be hauled into criminal proceedings is the consistent view taken by this Court in plethora of cases,” the bench noted.
Relying on the judgment in Barath S.P. V. State Of Karnataka in Crl.P.No.1757/2022, the bench noted, “The facts obtained in the case at hand are identical, as the aforesaid criminal petition was also considering the case of a customer in a brothel at the time of search. It would, therefore, cover the case at hand on all its fours.”