Recognizes the Sexworkers’ Profession as Legal; Will this Intervention change the life of Sexworkers?
Shobhit Chandola – Mumbai Uncensored, 27th May 2022
What could be hailed as a significant and progressive move, the Supreme Court of India on 26th May, 2022 announced the decision to officially recognise the sex work as a No Offence.
Although Prostitution is Legalized in India but the activities of Brothel management, Procuring, Child Prostitution, Soliciting and Kerb Crawling were subject to illegal activities.The Apex court was hearing the plea of the hindrances faced by thesexworkers since the Covid 19 times. What a 3 Judge Bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao ordered as final verdict, it has been ensured that now Sex workers won’t be harrased, exploited, punished and thus, the sexwork be regulated. The panel of Sexworkers were constituted by the Apex Court and primarily the 3 aspects were addressed:
- Prevention of Human Trafficking
- Resettlement of the Sexworkers who want to leave Sex work.
- Favourable safe working conditions to be created for the continuing sex workers with utmost nobility.
Supreme Court’s Guidelines on Sexwork Legalisation
The Bench came up with the final recommendations made by the panel of sexworkers which has been directed by the Supreme Court to the Union territories and the States in order to be followed with stern adherence. As the Supreme Court terms Voluntary sex work as No Crime, it has come up with the Guidelines to be followed by the states & unions once the Government of India accepts the order. Glance briefly at the SCI’s guidelines below:
- Adults are the Keyholder and Consent is the key. Since the adult’s participation in the sexwork is on his personal volition. Therefore the Police are abstained to charge any criminal case or act on them. This comes as a matter of fact that Police carry presumingly an ill image for the prostitutes and often spark the usage of Verbal or physical abuse on them.
- When the Sexworker lodges an FIR against any offence that may be criminal/ civil or sexual in nature, the police are entitled to accept it earnestly and act in conformity with law.
- Just for the sole reason of Mother being indulged in the profession of Prostitution, the detachment of her from the child should not be caused.
- Sexual Assault on a Sexworker will be equivalent to the same on sexual assault survivor. Hence the sexworker will be entitiled to receive all the facilities of the latter including instant medication.
- Press Council of India is accountable to issuance of certain guidelines for the Media on moral grounds which should comprise: a)- To not publish, telecast and disclose the identities of the sexworkers during raid/arrest/ rescue operation even if the subject is found to be victim or accused.
- It is the duty of the government to seek participation of sexworkers or their spokesperson in the formation of the policies, guidelines or act formation for the sexworkers.
The Transition in India if the Centre accepts the SCI’s verdict ? What could be the Cons of Legalising Prostitutions ?
If the Central Government supports the decision than it will come into existence and the Prostitutions will be legalised and regulated. But the decision has simultaneously raged a big clash of opinions. One phase of Neitizens seems to be disappointed with the verdict and has coined the possible aftermaths of legalization of Prostitution:
- No guarantee to stop Human trafficking. A Vice-versa uptrend shall initiate
- Health of women seems to be compromised. Also they will be more vulnerable to Government of India’s tax policies.
- Legal Prostitution may increase Child prostitution due to relaxed proceeding of the law.
- It may serve as a gift to the Sex industry & Sex Tourism but pro western/ developed nations’ elites shall play with the helplessness of lower class prostitutes.
- There are a fair share of chances that adultery would increase.
- Even though it shall lead to decrease in sexual assault cases, It shall make the Sex worker Morality go down ironically.
Only time will tell how effective and efficient this SCI’s decision will be. But for now, it looks the need of the hour as all the developed nations has the legalised prostitutions which are well regulated in contrast to India where the scenario gets worst with respect to the in-depth reality.
Maharashtra Government contemplating a law against ‘Love Jihad’
Khushi Thawani, 17th December 2022, Mumbai Uncensored:
“Maharashtra government is contemplating to formulate law against ‘Love Jihad’ by considering the laws that are prevalent in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh” said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of Maharashtra, after meeting with Vikas Walkar.
Vikas Walkar is the father of Shraddha who was murdered by her live-in boyfriend Aftab Poonawala in May this year. He chopped her in 35 parts and dumped them in different parts of East Delhi from time to time. “Love jihad” is a term used to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women into marrying them and converting to Islam.
When asked if the law will be tabled during the winter session, Mr. Fadnavis replied that nothing has been decided yet, and the government is looking into all the aspects.
BJP MLA Nitish Rane said “Maharashtra urgently needs a strong and effective anti-conversion law, often known as a law of love jihad. Every day, we witness Hindu females being targeted and defrauded in every region of the state. A certain community’s inhabitants cast a gloomy shadow over the future. To stop this, the government will introduce a law in the upcoming days.”
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in an interview to NDTV, said that “love jihad was a reality” and that the country needed a “strict law” against it. Recently Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said the state will formulate a new and stricter law to tackle the problem of love jihad. That the government will not let its daughters get murdered and suffer like this.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded a central law against “love jihad” after being shook by the recent incident. Although the move by the Maharashtra government has been criticised by the opposition parties stating that such a law should not be brought up in a secular country like India.
Disputed Supreme Court’s order on salaries to Imams is a betrayal to other religious sects: CIC
Khushi Thawani, 12th December 2022, Mumbai Uncensored:
The highest entity to handle complaints under the RTI Act is the Central Information Commission, and in one of the recent applications, activist Subhash Agrawal submitted an RTI request asking about the salaries paid to imams and muezzins after receiving no response from the Delhi government and Delhi Waqf Board.
Imams filed a petition in All India Iman organization and others v. Union of India and others, 1993, to protect their fundamental rights against exploitation by wakf boards. They based their argument on the discrepancy between the nature of the task and the compensation. And the highest court in the land commanded the Wakf Board to pay the Imams desirable renumeration.
The judgement is clearly a per incurium as it was in violation of the Article 27 of the Indian Constitution, which clearly states that the country does not support any particular religion and shall not be benefitted from the public fund. As India was carved out of a bigger landmass after being divided because of religious clash, it decided to remain a secular country following the principle of Vasudhev Kutumbakam.
CIC commissioner Uday Mahurkar noted that, “The said judgment sets a wrong precedent in the country and has become a point of unnecessary political slugfest and also social disharmony in the society”.
He directed the Delhi Waqf board to compensate RTI activist Subhash Agrawal with Rs. 25,000 to cover his legal expenses and the time he lost looking for an answer to the application. Both the Delhi Wakf Board and the Delhi government provided the activist with unsatisfactory responses.
The abovementioned judgement allowing renumeration to Imams and Muezzins is “not just betraying the Hindu community and members of other non-Muslim minority religions, but also encouraging pan-Islamist tendencies amongst a section of Indian Muslims which are already visible”, the commissioner said.
He revealed that while the Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) receives an annual payment of roughly Rs. 62 crores from the Delhi government, its own income from various sources is just about Rs. 30 lakhs.
Mahurkar said those who justify such steps in the name of protection to religious minorities raise a question that if a particular religious minority has a right to protection, the majority community too has a right to protection in a multi-religious country where it is incumbent that the rights of the members of all religions are protected equally in the interest of inter-faith harmony and unity of the nation.
While dealing with the dispute the commission observed “The monthly honorarium of Rs 18,000 and Rs 16,000 being given to the Imams and Muezzins of Delhi Waqf Board mosques in Delhi is being paid by the Delhi Government virtually from the tax payers money which in turn is in sharp contrast with the example quoted by the appellant in which the priest of a Hindu temple is getting a paltry of Rs. 2000/- per month.
The commission directed that a copy of the order be forwarded to the Union Minister of Law with a recommendation to take appropriate action enforcing Articles 25–28, which will further set an example of equality among all the religious segments of society. The commission did this while keeping the Constitution of India in mind and its secular nature.
A Muslim woman is forbidden as the guardian of her child: According to the Supreme Court
On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court declared that it had to adhere to Supreme Court precedent in stating that a Muslim woman can not be the guardian of her minor child and the property. The Quran or the Hadith does not prohibit the right of a Muslim woman to be a child’s guardian, but the Court said that it must respect the law as the Supreme Court defined it under Article 141 of the Constitution.
Reports state that the court was deliberating on the appeal made by C Abdul Aziz of Kallai, Kozhikode, and 12 other people, who were represented by attorney KM Firoz. The court of Justices PB Suresh and CS Sudha recognised that although Muslim personal law forbids Muslim women from acting as guardians for their minor children, it is invalid when compared with articles 14 (equality) and 15 (discrimination) of the Indian Constitution. It was emphasised again that the Court must abide by the precedents established by the Supreme Court. The Apex Court has previously ruled in several cases that a Muslim woman could not serve as a guardian for her underage children, stated the court. “It is undeniably true that women have ascended to new heights and slowly but surely stormed a number of male strongholds in the contemporary era.” As was mentioned, many Muslim-majority or Islamic nations have female heads of state. Additionally, women have taken part in space missions. However, this court is obligated to follow the Supreme Court’s rulings, “stated the Court. The appellant, meanwhile, argued by referring to the Hadith and said that the woman was recognised as the guardian of her husband’s property as well. They said that there was nothing in the Quran or Hadith that prohibited a woman from being a guardian of her son or his property. They also added that Hadiths were never considered in any of the judgments of the Supreme Court in this regard.
In contrast, the responses claimed that neither the Quran nor the Hadith endorses the concept that a mother can serve as a guardian and that several verses of the Quran explicitly support the opposite view. The Court upheld that even while the Quran did not expressly indicate that a mother could not serve as a guardian, it was not for the Court to interpret this in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Furthermore, citing the Shayara Bano case, the Shariat Act is the only law that applies to Muslims in the situations listed in Section 2 of the act, which includes guardianship, according to the Court. The petition was filed over a partition deed in which a Muslim mother acted as a legal guardian of her son’s property. The Kerala High Court noted that the partition agreement was obligatory on the parties but disregarded the mother’s status as legal guardian.