Meaning of Brothel
Section 2 (a) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (for short, the `ITP Act’) defines `brothel‘ to mean any house, room, conveyance or place or any portion of any house, room, conveyance or place which is used for purpose of sexual exploitation or abuse, for the gain of another person or for the mutual gain of two or more prostitutes.
Meaning of Prostitution
Normally, the word `prostitution’ means an act of promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire or offer or agreement to perform an act of sexual intercourse or any unlawful sexual act for hire.
It has been brought within its frame, by amendment, the act of a female and exploitation of her person by an act or process of exploitation for commercial purpose making use of or working up for exploitation of the person of the women taking unjust and unlawful advantage of trapped women for one’s benefit or sexual intercourse.
The word `abuse’ has a very wide meaning everything which is contrary to good order established by usage amounts to abuse. Physical or mental mal-treatment also is an abuse. An injury to genital organs in an attempt of sexual intercourse also amounts to sexual abuse.
The essential ingredient, therefore,
- is a place being used for the purpose of sexual exploitation or abuse.
- The phrase `for the purpose of‘ indicates that the place being used for the purpose of the prostitution may be a brothel provided a person uses the place and ask for girls, where the person is shown girls to select from and where one does engage or offer her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire.
Proof for Prostitution Practice
In order to establish prostitution, evidence of more than one customer is not always necessary. All that is essential to prove is that a girl/lad should be a person offering her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire. Sexual intercourse is not an essential ingredient.
The inference of prostitution would be drawn from diverse circumstances established in a case.
- Sexuality has got to be established but that
- does not require the evidence of more than one customer and
- no evidence of actual intercourse should be adduced or proved.
- It is not necessary that there should be repeated visits by persons to the place for the purpose of prostitution.
- A single instance coupled with the surrounding circumstances may be sufficient to establish that the place is being used as a brothel and the person alleged was so keeping it.
- The prosecution has to prove only that in a premises a female indulges in the act of offering her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire. On proof thereof, it becomes a brothel.
Gaurav Jain V. Union of India; (1997) 8 SCC 114