Forcing a woman into prostitution cannot be equated with abetment to rape, the Bombay HC has ruled, reversing the conviction of six people on that charge.
"There is nothing to show that... sexual intercourse with the victims was… against their will," Justice RC Chavan said.
"Because they were forced into prostitution, it does not follow that [the convicts] could be held guilty of… abetment to commit rape, without them being charged with any specific instances of rape."
The case relates to a March 2008 raid on a brothel in Girgaum and the rescue of three women, all of whom had been sold to brothel owners and forced into prostitution.
A trial court convicted six people of abetment of rape and under the Immoral Traffic Act.
The HC has also acquitted them of ITPA charges, because the raid was not conducted under the direction of a special police officer.