Releasing an HIV+ sex worker poses danger to society due to risk of transmission by sexual intercourse: Judge S. U. Baghele, Dindoshi Sessions Court

The father of the victim appeared before the Additional Sessions Judge S. U. Baghele (ASJ) at the Sessions Court at Dindoshi (Borivali Division) to challenge the order passed by Magistrate’s Court, Mazgaon, on August 20, 2021, to detain the victim for a period of two years under Section 17, Sub-Section 4 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 for allegedly being induced to become a prostitute for the gain of a supposed third person in exchange of Rs. 1,00,000. The respondent holds that there is no error on part of the judge in passing the aforementioned order. The victim is allegedly an actor by profession whilst the appellant (her father) is a police officer, wherein the family of the victim is financially sound. The learned counsel for the appellant, Mr. Tiwari, holds that the victim desires to return to her family; however, he holds that the victim is being allegedly detained owing to her HIV+ status. Mr. Tiwari opines that the victim does not suffer from any disability to pose any danger to society. The ASJ contended that the detention of the victim is necessary to avoid the transmission of HIV from the victim to the members of society via sexual intercourse. The judge added that the victim ought to be rehabilitated and counselled to stop her from further indulging in the act of prostitution.

Although the appellant argues that the victim is not involved in prostitution, the FIR appears to be hinting towards the active involvement of the victim in prostitution. The HIV+ status of the victim makes the release of the victim difficult per the judge, wherein he opined that the care and protection of the victim whilst in detention can ensure bringing normalcy to the life of the victim after receiving the necessary counselling. The judge held that the facts of the case do not arouse the confidence of the court in believing that the victim would not indulge in prostitution practices after being released from the current detention.

The ASJ upheld that judgement of the Magistrate’s Court whilst upholding the detention of the victim owing to her HIV+ status.

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