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Supreme Court adjourns hearing of plea by children rescued from prostitution in Kolkata, plea seeks exemplary damages

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, advised the petitioner to make their representation before The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned hearing of a plea filed by a group of children rescued from prostitution seeking exemplary damages.

Srishti Agnihotri, the counsel for the petitioner, said,

“We are seeking exemplary compensation against the property owners from where the children were rescued. Except the respondent Number 2 (Centre), nobody else has filed its reply.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, advised the petitioner to make their representation before The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The petitioner replied that the NCPCR was already a party in the present writ petition, the Court may ask them to file their reply. The bench directed all the respondents to file their reply.

Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian listed the matter for hearing in July.

Srishti Agnihotri has filed the plea, settled by Senior Advocate R. Venkataramani, representing the young children from West Bengal, Nepal and Bangladesh who are firstly trafficked and then forced into prostitution in the infamous Sonagachi red light area of Kolkata.

The petitioner has mentioned that minor children were rescued by the police with NGO assistance, thereafter these minor children were detained in shelter homes where they were attempting to rebuild their lives but their attempt was shattered because they were again forced into prostitution.

The petition stated that the property at which the minors are exploited belongs to Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Corporation doesn’t have the updated property records as who is the tenant of these properties in the red light area are. The search record bears no records or ownership under any person.

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The petition further stated that several properties in the red-light area do not have updated property records and often operate without complying with payment of property taxes and other legal requirements. Therefore, the petitioner has alleged that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is responsible for the trafficking because they aid criminals/traffickers by not maintaining their record properly.

The petitioner has sought punishment under Section 3 to 6 of The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, which punishes a person/s for allowing his/their premises to be used as a brothel. Section 6 of The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 punishes the persons for detaining any person in premises where prostitution is carried on.

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