Four red light area women move HC against SDM's eviction order

Redlight area

Four women from the Capital's red light area have approached the Delhi High Court challenging the legality of a sub-divisional magistrate's order for their eviction from their residential premises under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw decided to hear the plea of the four women from G B Road area on Monday and said "till then no eviction of the petitioner."

In their plea, the women pleaded with the court to declare the Section 18 of the ITPA as unconstitutional and ultra vires saying "the section mandates the closure of alleged brothels and eviction of alleged occupants from the premises without providing any rehabilitation or alternative location to settle down."

The petitioners claimed that they have been staying in the area for more than a decade and are not involved in the business of running brothel, yet under the garb of section 18 of the ITPA, the SDM Paharganj had passed an order on July 21 for their eviction from their residential premises.

"The eviction orders passed by the SDM, Paharganj, Delhi directing the eviction of the petitioners from their residential premises without providing them an opportunity of being heard is thus invalid and bad in law and should be quashed immediately," their petition said.

"The Act never intended to penalise prostitution per se, except in public places or to punish the prostitute herself but aimed at curbing commercialised or organised prostitution.

"It neither criminalised prostitutes' own earnings nor did it prohibit a prostitute from carrying on prostitution from his / her own residence if she was carrying it out on her / his own," the petition added.

The petitioners said the Delhi government has not framed any rules relating to the section 18 and has not laid down any statutory guidance on the same.

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