Special Correspondent

‘Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act used to frame people’

Police officers accused of misusing provisions of Act

Government urged to issue guidelines to police

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Civil Rights and Social Justice Society has called upon the State government to take steps to check the misuse of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956.

In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here on Friday, with copies to the Home Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary, the society contended that the Act was being widely misused by the police to frame innocent people.

It pointed out that police officers tried to get media coverage in such cases. Such cases usually end in the persons getting acquitted. By the time, media exposure would have done irreparable harm to them, the memorandum said.

An inquiry is needed to find out the reason for the high number of acquittals. Either the charges should be fictitious or the prosecution presents a weak case, the society said.

The society maintained that a vast majority of such cases charged by the police did not fall under the purview of the Act or any other law. The affected parties are, in effect, subjected to moral policing and harassment resulting in gross violation of their human rights.

It charged police officers with misusing the provisions of Section 7 of the Act where ‘it is mentioned that the essential ingredient of the offence is promiscuous sexual intercourse and refers to commercialised vice such as activity in a brothel.’ The society claimed to have in its possession such FIRs quashed by the High Court.

It wanted suitable action to be contemplated against errant officers who did ‘these heinous acts out of vendetta, for bribes or as per the instructions of higher authorities.’

Guidelines

It asked the government to issue specific guidelines to the police to strictly adhere to the provisions of the Act and to prohibit the police from divulging the details and identities of the persons involved in such cases.

They should not to take upon themselves the task of moral policing, it said.

The society warned that it would be constrained to move the court after a reasonable period if orders were not given to the police to act strictly within the confines of the law.

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