In an order passed on Saturday, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Paharganj has directed the closure and eviction of the occupants of the first floor of a kotha on G. B. Road which was being used as a brothel. The SDM said in his order that the brothel was within 200 metres of a school and that the owner of the building should get prior permission from him before leasing out the premises for the next three years.
Acting on an application moved by the Kamla Market SHO under Section 18 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, Paharganj SDM Mani Bhushn Malhotra said: “From the perusal of application of SHO Kamla Market and document attached it is clear that the circumstances in which the girls were apprehended / rescued from this premises clearly indicate that the said premises being repeatedly used for the purposes identical to those given in Section 2 (a) of the ITP Act. The averment cited by SHO Kamla Market that this premises is being used as brothel is further strengthened with the fact that minor girls lured from other States have been coerced into prostitution and rescued from this premises.”
[Section 2(a) of the ITP Act defines brothel as any house, room, conveyance or place, or any portion of any house, room, conveyance or place, which is used for purposes of sexual exploitation or abuse for the gain of another person or for the mutual gain of two or more prostitutes.]
Pramod Joshi, the SHO, said in his application that four FIRs were registered against these premises under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for rape, kidnapping, wrongful confinement, assault, buying and selling of minors for prosecution besides various sections of the ITP Act.The brothel owner, who was also the lessee of the premises, raised several objections to the SHO’s application. She said she was a resident of the second floor of the building and had nothing to do with the premises in question; that she was acquitted in one of the cases and charge sheets were not filed in the others cases; that the police had not clarified the exact distance between the public place (school) and the building; and that there was “no live and proximate link between the prejudicial activity and preventive action” being sought.
Mr. Malhotra in his order said the brothel owner, Baby, had appeared in a Tis Hazari Sessions court in response to summons served on her at the first floor address, and that she was acquitted in the case merely on the technical ground that summons issued for the victim in the case and prosecution witnesses went unserved.
The SDM also noted that an FIR was registered as recently as this year for rape, kidnapping and prostitution charges which warranted “preventive measures immediately to stop the reoccurrence of such activities”. Regarding the SHO not invoking the 200 metre contention in his application, the SDM allowed the statement made later by the SHO that this was a case and there was a school in the proximity.