MUMBAI: Observing that it is their fundamental right to move from one place to another or to reside at a place of their choice and choose their vocation, a sessions court has said adult commercial sex workers “rescued” by the police cannot be subjected to unnecessary detention contrary to their wish and asked to reside in a corrective institution. Setting aside a magistrate court’s order, additional sessions judge AB Sharma said the four women are to be enlarged and set at liberty from the Deonar rescue home.
The women had filed an appeal in the sessions court after the magistrate court in May said they are to be detained for a year. The sessions court said the magistrate’s order needed to be quashed as it was not sustainable. “It is almost two months that the victims have been detained in the corrective home, against their wish. The magistrate, before passing the order, ought to have considered the willingness and consent of the victims before detaining them in the protective home,” the judge said.
The magistrate had considered the report of the probation officer, the rescue home and a medical officer. The magistrate while passing the order observed the women are originally from West Bengal and their custody has not been claimed by anybody, therefore, they need to be sent to their native state.
The magistrate directed the rescue home to take necessary steps to shift the women to West Bengal. The rescue home in West Bengal was also directed to counsel the women and “brainwash” them so that they could detach themselves from the “flesh trade” in future.
Their advocate assured the sessions court that they would not indulge in “immoral activities.” He urged the court to order their release.
The prosecution opposed the plea and expressed fears that the women would gain similar employment once they are released.
Allowing the women’s plea, the sessions court said before releasing them, their wishes should be ascertained to understand if they want to live in the rescue home. “The appellants shall remain present before the trial court during the course of trial at the time of recording their evidence, if summoned. The metropolitan magistrate… shall ensure the victims are given adequate protection and are not influenced by anyone at the time of recording their evidence,” the judge said.