News / बातमी
News : Can a Customer of Sex Worker be Prosecuted Under Section 370 or 370(A) of IPC ?
- The Andhra Pradesh High Court was considering whether a person who pays a sex worker for their services can be charged with a crime under Sections 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code.
- The accused had filed petitions asking the court to stop the proceedings against them, arguing that a customer should not be charged under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act or the Indian Penal Code.
- The court noted that Section 4 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act only applies to those who knowingly live off the earnings of a prostitute and cannot be used to prosecute those who visit the premises.
- In regards to Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code, the court stated that it is unclear whether a customer can be charged under this section if the sex worker is engaging in prostitution willingly or not. The court looked at the case law and noted conflicting opinions.
- The court decided to refer the matter to a Division Bench to determine whether a customer can be charged under Sections 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code in a case involving the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
Bench: Justice K. Sreenivasa Reddy.
Case No.: CRIMINAL PETITION NOs. 8675 OF 2022, 1190 OF 2023, 1806 OF 2023 & 1959 OF 2023
Difference between the section 370 and 37(A) of IPC..
- Section 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are related to the criminal offense of human trafficking. However, they differ in terms of the specific elements of the crime that they cover.
- Section 370 of the IPC deals with the offense of “buying or disposing of any person as a slave”. It states that whoever engages in such an act shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years, but which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
- On the other hand, section 370A of the IPC deals with the offense of “exploitation of a trafficked person”. This section was added to the IPC in 2013 through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, and it specifically addresses the issue of trafficking for the purpose of exploitation. The section states that whoever, knowingly or having reason to believe that a person has been trafficked, engages such person for any purpose or in any activity, including prostitution, sexual exploitation, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than five years, but which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
In summary, while both sections deal with the offense of human trafficking, section 370 covers the act of buying or disposing of a person as a slave, while section 370A covers the exploitation of a trafficked person for various purposes.