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Legalize prostitution?

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Immediately after becoming a Republic, one of the first things India did in 1950 was to put its signature on the International Convention for the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Persons and Exploitation of Prostitution.

Enactment of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, followed ratification of the convention. After more than half-a-century of enforcement of the penal law, the Supreme Court has virtually damned the effectiveness of the legislation. The suggestion to legalise prostitution from the apex court appeared rather out of place. According to the Bench Like in the case of prostitution, the law — Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — has miserably failed to curb corruption, which has merrily spread to almost all spheres of life. Its telling effects on the nation was lucidly illustrated by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the case K C Sareen vs CBI, Chandigarh [2001 (6) SCC 584]. Corruption has not shown any declining trend, despite the 20-yearold stringent law. “When you say it is the world’s oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don’t you legalise it?”

1. There are about 3 million prostitutes in India of which 40 per cent are children. So, the child prostitute population is close to 1.2 million.

2. At least 100 million people are involved in human trafficking in India and 90 per cent of human trafficking is intra-country.

Problems before the legalizing prostitution:

1. Is it be still prudent to harbour thoughts of legalising 1.2 million child prostitutes, who have been deprived of their basic fundamental right — that of childhood — even if one discounts their right to education, life and their entitlement to love and affection?

2. A constitution Bench judgment in Olga Tellis vs Bombay Municipal Corporation [1985 SCC (3) 545] where the Supreme Court had said, “Under the Constitution, no person can claim the right to livelihood by the pursuit of an opprobrious occupation or a nefarious trade or business, like gambling or living on the gains of prostitution.”

President wants woman judge in Supreme Court

The absence of a woman judge in the Supreme Court, having a sanctioned strength of 30 judges, may end soon. For, President Pratibha Patil has argued strongly in favour of appointment of a woman judge to the apex court. Hiding her apparent concern over non-representation of a woman in the Bench for a long time, Patil recently made a polite noting in the file for the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan suggesting that it was time a woman judge was appointed to the SC.  It is to be noted that the SC till date has had only three women judges. Justice Fathima Beevi was the first woman to be appointed judge of the SC in 1989. She retired on April 29, 1992. Two years later, Justice Sujata V Manohar was elevated to the Supreme Court and she retired in August 1999. The last woman judge in the SC was Justice Ruma Pal, who was appointed on the Golden Jubilee day of SC on January 28, 2000. She retired on June 3, 2006. They are Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court Gyan Sudha Mishra (made permanent judge in 1994), Justice Rekha Doshit of Gujarat HC (made permanent judge in 1997), Justice Ranjana P Desai of Bombay HC (made permanent judge in 1998) and Justice T Meena Kumari (made permanent judge in 1999).