SC cautions courts on bails for accused in flesh trade cases



New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deplored the practice of courts casually granting bails to persons accused of heinous offences like coercing minor girls into prostitution racket.

"It is unfortunate that the investigating officers and the courts ordinarily fail to bear in mind a distinction between the rescued children including girls, on the one hand, and the persons who have been organising such immoral traffic in a systematic manner and have otherwise been aiding and abetting the commission of offences thereunder.

"The Legislature as also the Executive have failed to draw a well-thought out plan for rehabilitation of the rescued children in the society by bringing in suitable legislations or schemes," the apex court observed.

A bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph passed the observation while dealing with an appeal filed by an NGO Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan questioning the bail granted by the Allahabad High Court to Sheik Mohammed, charged with luring minor girls into a prostitution racked in Varanasi.

The bail was granted on the ground that sufficient material was not produced by the investigating agency to establish the involvement of the accused.

The apex court said granting of bails in a casual manner would only help in the flesh trade flourishing.

"The victims of immoral trafficking, most of whom are minor or young girls, are let off on bail. They again in most of the cases are forced to go back to the brothels from where they have been recovered and are subjected to prostitution again at the instance of the same persons.

"Bails are also granted to accused who are arrested from the brothels without bearing any distinction in mind as to whether they work from behind or may be held to be guilty of offences of higher magnitude," the bench observed.

According to the apex court, bails should be granted only after examining the gravity of the offence.

"The question as regards grant of bail, therefore, should be considered having regard to the gravity of the offence wherewith the accused had been charged. The High Court, therefore, in our opinion, was not correct in dealing with the matter in such a cursory manner.

"We, however, keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, are of the opinion that as the private respondents (accused) have been granted bail long time back and in some cases trials have also been concluded, it would not be proper on our part to cancel the bail at this stage.

"We, however, would place on record that in a case of this nature, the High Court should have dealt (with) the matter cautiously," the apex court said while dismissing the appeal filed by the NGO.

Bureau Report