The Delhi High Court has observed that a sex worker is entitled to all rights which is available to a citizen but cannot claim any special treatment if they violate the law.

The Bench of Justice Asha Menon held thus "No doubt, a sex worker is entitled to all rights available to a citizen, but at the same time, if she violates the law, she would be subjected to the same consequences under law and cannot claim any special treatment."

The Court was dealing with the interim bail application of a sex worker accused of trafficking 13 minor girls who were rescued from a brothel.

Advocate Rajat Katyal appearing for the applicant-sex worker contended that the mother of the applicant required urgent knee replacement surgery of her knees therefore he prayed for a week's bail for the applicant.

On the other hand, Ritesh Kumar Bahri, APP for the state, opposed the bail on the ground that there was a very good chance of the applicant absconding and influencing the prosecutrix.

Advocate Liyi Marli Noshi appearing for the complainant submitted that the requirement of knee replacement surgery did not entail a life threatening condition. She further submitted that one person was looking after the mother of the applicant. Therefore she stated that considering the nature of the case, granting interim bail would hinder the process of trial.

In response, the counsel for the applicant, relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Budhadev Karmaskar vs. State of W.B., 2022 argued that even if the applicant was a sex worker, she was entitled to all protection under the law.

The Court noted that the present case was not the one where the rights of the applicant as noticed in Budhadev Karmaskar (supra) required protection.

"The applicant is an accused in an FIR registered after rescue operations. In her eagerness to obtain bail from the learned Trial Court, the medical records were tampered with. This has been observed by the learned Trial Court in its order dated 13th May, 2022. Thus, the conduct of the applicant does not invoke the confidence of the court.", the Court opined.

"There is no gainsaying that the girls were rescued from the brothel where the applicant was also soliciting customers. It becomes a matter of concern, for she too could try to reach out to the prosecutrix to try and influence her and/or prevent her from testifying before the court.", the Court noted further.

The Court also pointed out that the applicant was accused of offences not merely under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, but also under Sections 370 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) (Trafficking of person) and 372 IPC (Selling minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.) which were serious offences.

Therefore considering the serious allegations against her and the fact that the prosecutrix was yet to be examined by the Trial Court, the High Court dismissed the interim bail application.

Cause Title- Sarika v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.

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