There is nothing improper about arresting persons, including customers, who are found at a place where prostitution is going on, said the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday while rejecting a public interest litigation filed by a practicing lawyer.
Advocate Prabhanjan Dave had approached the HC seeking a declaration that the arrest and subsequent detention of 124 customers apprehended during the October 4 raid on Simplex Building, Grant Road was illegal.
Contending that there was no provision in the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) that stipulates treating customers as accused, Dave had sought appropriate compensation for illegally arresting and detaining them.
The division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice RD Dhanuka dismissed the PIL, stating that the validity of arrest of those present would depend on facts and circumstances of each case. No sweeping presumption can be drawn for all the 124 customers arrested, the bench noted. The court also dismissed Dave’s contention that some of the arrested were still behind bar, since they could not afford to move a plea for bail.
The court also imposed exemplary cost of Rs. 25,000 on the petitioner lawyer and directed him to deposit the amount within a week.