The apex court said that the police should not take criminal actions or interfere among the consenting adult sex workers.
The Supreme Court ordered to significantly recognize sex work as a profession. The practitioners should have the right to life, equal protection under the law, and dignity. The apex court has asked police not to interfere with or criminalize the work of consenting adult sex workers.
The court took this decision citing Article 21 of the constitution. It stated that regardless of the profession, all individuals of the nation have the right to life and dignity.
The three-judge bench mentioned that sex workers should have equal protection under the law. The constitution and its laws should equally apply in all cases. It should only be based on consent and age. It is clearly admissible that the sex workers are adults, and they participate in the work with their consent. So the court gave an order directing the police to refrain from taking any punitive actions or interfering. The judiciary had to invoke Article 142 of the constitution, giving special powers to take such decisions.
The bench passed an order that the police should not penalize, victimize, or harass the sex workers. Whenever they carry out a raid on any brothel, police should not arrest them. Running a brothel is illegal, but voluntary sex work is not unlawful.
The court held that no one should separate a child of a sex worker from the mother. It would be inhuman to do it just because she is involved in the sex trade.
The court noted that the sex workers and their children should also have general protection of human dignity and decency. Moreover, the police officials cannot presume a minor living with sex workers in a brothel to be a trafficked child. If any sex worker claims the child to be her son or daughter, the officials should conduct tests to determine the validity of her claims. And if the claims are true, they should not forcibly separate the minor from the mother.
The court instructed the police not to show any discrimination against sex workers, approaching them to file a criminal complaint. The executives should not ignore any offense against them, especially if it is of sexual nature. They should provide all facilities to the workers who are sexual assault victims, including immediate legal and medical care.
The apex court urged the media to protect the identities of sex workers. It should take utmost care while reporting the rescue operations during b what have brothel raids. Judges asked media officials not to telecast or publish any videos or photos that can disclose such identities.