Though it is felt by this court that the customer virtually encourages prostitution, and exploit the victim for money, but in the absence of any specific penal provision, it cannot be said that he is liable for any prosecution for the above-said offences, the Court said.
The Karnataka High Court, though reiterated the settled view that the customers of a brothel cannot be prosecuted, has opined that it is the customer who virtually encourages prostitution and exploits the victim for money.
In this case, the man, who was allegedly found as a customer in the brothel house was charged with offences under Sections 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and also under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code.
He moved the high court, seeking to quash criminal proceedings against him, citing a number of precedents contending that Sections 3, 4 & 5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act are not at all attracted as the petitioner was a customer of the brothel house.
Justice KN Phaneendra observed that he does not find any strong reason to differ from the above said consistent view taken by the high court in the cited cases.
He said: “It is evident from reading of the above provisions that,- Section-3 of the Act is a section which provides punishment for keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as brothel. Section-4 provides for punishment of living on the earnings of the prostitution. Section-5 provides procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution. Section-7 applies to prostitution and in or in the vicinity of public place.”
Quashing the criminal proceedings against the ‘customer’, the court said: “Therefore, the above-said provisions are in no way attracted providing any punishment so far as the customer is concerned. Though it is felt by this court that the customer virtually encourages prostitution, and exploit the victim for money, but in the absence of any specific penal provision, it cannot be said that he is liable for any prosecution for the above-said offences.”