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Savera A Society Registered Under … vs State Of Goa, Through The Chief … on 21 July, 2003 – Bombay High Court-

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NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK

The petitioner alongwith other individuals residing in adjacent area of Baina Beach (a red light area) filed this writ petition. The petitioners’ case was that on account of unfounded social sanctions and the circumstances of being born poor, ill-fed, ill-housed, ill-educated and being illiterate, certain women, mostly migrants from other States, had been trapped in the unorganised flesh trade. The petition filed this petition sought their readjustment and rehabilitation by economic empowerment, social justice and self-sustenance, giving them equality of status and dignity as persons in truth and realty and for their social integration in the mainstream of the society. It is pointed out that pursuant to the Judgment, in the case of Gaurav Jain v Union of India; the Apex Court had issued various directions including setting up of State Committee, Local Committee, Advisory Committee and Monitoring Committee, and setting up of Child Development and Care Centre, Service facilities and Institutional Care.

Further, the petitioners brought it to the notice of the Court that the Government of Goa had not taken steps for compliance of the directions contained in the Judgment of the Apex Court and on the contrary, had taken aggressive attitude against the fallen women and other residents of Baina area, by committing large scale police atrocities.

It came to light that by letter of 15.5.03, the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Women & Child Development) had directed all States/Union Territories to file separate reply by 15th July, 2003 on action taken on implementation of National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children pursuant to Writ Petition filed by Shakti Vahini.

The Government had been taking various steps as per the directions of the SC in this regard in Vishaljeet v Union of India and Ors. AIR 1990 SC 1412:

  1. The Government had also appointed Special Trafficking Police Officers to maintain strict vigil in their respective areas to check child prostitution and they used to conduct regular raids in areas if it is known that child prostitution is being carried on.
  2. An Advisory Committee has also been set up to make suggestion to eradicate/check child/women prostitution.
  3. A protective home-cum-reception Center had been set up where children/women rescued from prostitution are kept.
  4. A five members’ panel was also constituted to suggest ways to help these rescued children/women.
  5. These rescued children/women were provided shelter, food, clothing, at the protective homes Medical facilities were provided by a visiting doctor or they are taken to Goa Medical College Hospital, if necessary.
  6. Training in tailoring and needlework was also imparted. The Government in co-ordination with an NGO, Arz provided for conselling and training in various disciplines. These victims were also provided training in bead work, painting, mushroom, cultivation etc. In Baina area, schools, Anganwadis, medical centre, had also been set up.
  7. The NGO Asha Seva Sadan, Desterro Eves & ARZ provided counselling awareness, campaigns, and conducted socio economic activities, tailoring, etc. in the area.
  8. Action had been taken by the State Government to repatriate the rescued victims to their home States and in some cases the victims willing to give up the profession, are rehabilitated.

The Committee appointed by the National Commission for Women had submitted its report,

The committee concluded that the owners of the liquor business had nexus with the Gharwalis (the old prostitutes who have become manager or pimps) and the sex workers, with the result, the bar business and sex works have become inter-dependant. Thus, there being a full-fledged organized crime. The land on which the structures were located, belonged to the State Government and the Mormugao Municipal Council. The State Government issued notices under Section 14, read with Section 40 of the Land Revenue Code. On account of the notices being issued, there is a fear in the minds of the sex workers that not only their trade and livelihood is in danger, but they are also likely to lose their shelter. The report also referred to the complaints by the sex workers that fake raids were conducted not with a view to satisfy the provisions of Immoral Traffic Act (Prevention) 1956, but to extract money from them and harass them. It also reported the fact that the sex workers were being imported into Goa mainly from neighbouring States such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, as also from some other States. It found that the economic weakness of the weaker section had become strength of traders for trafficking in women.

The Committee then noted that there was demand from the public in general, that the Baina Beach be freed from the menace of sex workers and flesh trade. The Baina Beach used to be frequented by people in the evenings and more particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, but now it is infested with sex workers and hence Baina Beach has become a taboo and no decent person or children can think of using Baina Beach.

The Court gave following directions:

(1) The State Government is directed to take steps based on the report of the Inquiry Committee headed by Justice Kamat (Retd.) appointed by the National Commission for Women and forwarded by letter of January 8, 2000 to the extent it is within the jurisdiction of the State Government and submit compliance report.

(2) To take steps to effectively implement the Judgment of the Apex Court in Gaurav Jain v Union of India and ors. to the extent it is not yet implemented.

(3) considering the finding of the Committee that 250 cubicles are being used for carrying on sex trade, and the objection by the local community the District Collector of the concerned area is directed to take steps alongwith other concerned officers under the provisions of ITPA or the other relevant laws to close down the said cubicles by following the due process of law.

(4) The State Government had given directions to take adequate steps to prevent the CSWs being brought into the State of Goa on contract basis as noted by the Justice Kamat Commission.

(5) Since the Commercial Sex Workers were being brought from outside the State of Goa, into the State of Goa, the Government of Goa not being bound to rehabilitate them except to the extent provided by specific directions in the judgments of the Apex Court.

The rescued Commercial Sex Workers were directed to be deported to the State from where they come. The Goa State Commission for Women with the National Commission for Women were required to take steps so that the said women could be rehabilitated in the State from where they hail with the assistance of the respective State Governments.

(6) National Commission for women within nine months from today to file report with this Court as to what steps they had taken for implementing the recommendations of the Justice Kamat (Retd.) Committee appointed by them.

The Bombay High Court directed all concerned parties to submit the compliance report to it within nine months on the directions.

Savera A Society Registered Under vs State Of Goa, Through The Chief on 21 July,2003

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