National

SC makes flesh trade legal, directs police to treat sex workers with dignity

New Delhi, May 27 (UNI): The Supreme Court has legalised prostitution and ordered the police to act in accordance with law while dealing with sex workers, who have to be treated with dignity and not as criminals.

A three-Judge Bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and also comprising Justices BR Gavai and AS Bopanna, passed the order on May 19, while taking Suo Motu Cognizance (SMC) of a formal criminal complaint registered in connection with a sex worker in Kolkata in 2011.

Senior lawyer Anand Grover, representing one of the parties in the case, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, said, “The order of the Supreme Court sends a very good message among the sex workers fraternity as a whole. Now, the sex workers have to be treated with dignity and not as criminals and non-citizens.”

The matter was taken up by the Apex Court in 2011 and subsequently, the Court had formed a Committee to look into to the entire issue.

The bench passed the order last Thursday, after thoroughly going through the recommendations of the Panel, constituted with Pradip Ghosh as the Chairman, Jayant Bhushan, Senior Counsel for Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society, Central government and other respective parties.

The Committee made a series of recommendations to the Supreme Court, which are as follows:

(1) Prevention of trafficking,

(2) Rehabilitation of sex workers, who wish to leave sex work, and

(3) Conditions conducive for sex workers, who wish to continue working as sex workers with dignity.

The Supreme Court also gave a go-ahead to most of these recommendations.

The Apex Court said the Centre and the states must involve sex workers or their representatives to reform laws.

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