Bengaluru: In an important judgment, the Karnataka High Court on Friday November 4 ruled that if a minor girl in a brothel complains that a person had forceful sex, he can’t be categorised as a customer and let off.
A single-judge bench headed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna gave the order while dealing with the petition of Mohammad Sharif a.k.a Fahim Haji, 45, seeking quashing of proceedings against him.
The petitioner from Kerala’s Kasaragod was booked for visiting a brothel by Mangaluru Woman’s Police Station and was seeking quashing of the case and legal proceedings against him.
The bench stated that, those who are caught at the time of conducting raids could be considered as customers. But, if victims, who are minors, have complained against the accused, they can’t be considered as customers only.
Counsel for petitioner had argued that the accused was a customer and had been booked for human trafficking. It was also argued that the investigation officer had lodged many FIRs for one case, and therefore, the case must be quashed, counsel argued.
However, the court did not agree to it and dismissed the petitioner’s plea.
In this case, a 17-year-old girl was residing with her relative and pursuing studies. The accused, who had approached her in the guise of helping her, had instead pushed her into the brothel. They had recorded the video of the girl with customers and forced her to continue in the flesh trade.
The accused had threatened the girl that they would put her videos on social media if she didn’t listen to them. According to investigation, the petitioner had sex with minor girl, recorded the act, and threatened her.
The girl who managed to escape from the clutches of the accused, informed her parents and lodged a police case. The police booked many accused including the petitioner under the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Act, Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Information Technology Act and submitted the charge sheet to the court.
The court opined that it is not a case of raid, and though the victim is one person, the offences committed against her are of different nature, and it is not possible to demand clubbing of all cases as one case.