Legalize prostitution if you can't curb it: Supreme Court to Govt

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre whether it could legalize prostitution if it wasn't possible to curb it. 

 

"When you say it is the world's oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don't you legalize it? You can then monitor the trade, rehabilitate and provide medical aid to those involved," Justices Dalveer Bhandari and AK Patnaik told Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam.

 

The court said legalizing sex trade would be a better option to avoid trafficking of women and pointed out that nowhere in the world was prostitution curbed by punitive measures.

 

Subramaniam said he would look into the suggestion. "They (sex workers) have been operating in one way or the other and nowhere in the world have they been able to curb it by legislation. In some cases, they (the trade) is carried out in a sophisticated manner. So, why don't you legalize it?" the judges asked.

 

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGOs Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Childline complaining about large-scale child trafficking in the country and seeking directives to contain it.

 

The apex court also wondered why 37% of the country's population continues to reel under below poverty line at a time when then there is much talk of growing GDP rate in the country.
 
 

 
 

The bench said child trafficking and sex trade were flourishing because of poverty which needs to be tackled.

 

"We are taking about growing GDP. I do not know what is the development we are all talking about when the number of BPL families is at 37% which has increased from 30%.

 

"Growth of GDP does not mean some four or five families have developed. If this is the state of development, we can't help it," the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing to January 5.

 

The contention of the petitioner is that a number of minor children, particularly girls and those of tender age, are being pushed into sex trade.

 

Childline counsel Nandita Rao alleged several minor girls are being sexually exploited by circus owners and there has to be adequate legal framework to prevent such exploitation.

 

Responding to her suggestion, the Solicitor General told the bench that government was contemplating a legislation to declare circus as a "hazardous industry" to prevent abuse of child labourers.