New Delhi: In significant remarks, the
Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre whether it can legalise
prostitution if it is not practically possible to curb the
world`s oldest profession with punitive measures.
"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? You can then monitor the trade, rehabilitate and
provide of medical aid to those involved in the trade," a
bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik told
Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.
The apex court said legalising sex trade would be a
better option to avoid trafficking of women and said nowhere
in the world has the trade been curbed by punitive measures.
"They (sex trade) have been operating in one way or
the other and nowhere in the world have they been able to curb
it by legislation. In some cases, they are carried out in a
sophisticated manner. So why don`t you legalise it?" the apex
court said, to which the Solicitor General said he would look
The apex court`s remarks came while dealing with a PIL
filed by an NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan and the intervention
application moved by Childline complaining about largescale
child trafficking in the country.
The apex court also wondered why 37 per cent of the
country`s population continues to reel under below poverty
line at a time when then there is much talk of growing GDP
rate in the country.
The bench said child trafficking and sex trade were
flourishing because of poverty which needs to be tackled.
"We are taking about growing GDP. I do not know what
is the development we are all talking about when the number of
BPL families is at 37 per cent which has increased from 30 per
"Growth of GDP does not mean some four or five families
have developed. If this is the state of development, we can`t
help it," the bench said while posting the matter for further
hearing to January 5.
The contention of the petitioner is that a number of
minor children, particularly girls and those of tender age,
are being pushed into sex trade.
Childline counsel Nandita Rao alleged several minor
girls are being sexually exploited by circus owners and there
has to be adequate legal framework to prevent such
Responding to her suggestion, the Solicitor General
told the bench that government was contemplating a legislation
to declare circus as a "hazardous industry" to prevent abuse
of child labourers.