The Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that 'customers' cannot be implicated under sections 3,4,5,7 and 8 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 only because of their presence in the brothel.

The bench of Justice Harkesh Manuja observed, "there are no specific allegations against the petitioner of managing the Spa or allowing the premises in question to be used as such or even having exploited or abused any of the girls working in the Spa for any commercial purpose or for earning money or even procured, induced or taken her for prostitution, thus, he being at best the customer at the Spa, found at the time of conducting of raid, no offence under Sections 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the 1956 Act read with section 120-B IPC can be said to have been made out against him”

Petitioner approached the High Court to quash the FIR registered under various sections of the Immoral Traffic Act where the Petitioner was implicated for being a customer found in an objectionable position in the massage centre/spa.
Petitioner denied any such indulgence in violation of the Act. However, as per the Counsel for the Petitioner Advocate Jagdeep Singh Rana even if the allegations levelled in the FIR are taken at its face value, no offence was made against the Petitioner as he was not found abusing or exploiting any of the girls employed/working in the Spa.
He further submitted that Petitioner was harassed on account of delayed trial as no prosecution witnesses were examined and it has been 4 ½ years since the charges have been framed.

The Court relied on the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the State of U.P. through Principal Secy. Home Civil Sectt. Lko. and another where the Court observed, “merely the presence of a person as a customer at a brothel would not attract the ingredients of offence u/s 3/4/5/7/8/9 of the Act.”
The Court noted that Allahabad High Court in its judgment relied on the Goenka Sajan Kumar case and observed, “this Court is of the view that if a person visits a brothel, then, at the most, he may be said to be a procurer of a prostitute to satisfy his lust but not for the purpose of prostitution because acquiring a person for prostitution means sexual exploitation or abuse for commercial purposes and not for any other purpose which does not have any commercial purpose or earning money.”
As a consequence, the Court quashed the FIR registered under the Act and allowed the petition.
Cause Title: K. I. Sunil Simon @ Sunil Simon v. State of Haryana (Neutral Citation: 2024:PHHC:027088)
Appellant: Adv. Jagdeep Singh Rana
Respondent: DAG Chetan Sharma