Nagpur: A contempt plea has been filed in Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court against Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar for sealing Ganga Jamuna (Red Light area) and halting prostitution activities. Apart from the police chief, Lakadganj Police Inspector Parag Thote also faces the contempt rap, according to a report in a local newspaper.
The petition has been filed by a commercial sex worker (CSW) through lawyers Raspal Singh Renu and Nihalsingh Rathod.
The Division Bench of Justice Atul Chandurkar and Justice G A Sanap has issued notices to the Commissioner of Police and the Police Inspector directing them to file a reply within two week. The Bench has also directed the police chief to apprise it about the status of a representation of September 10 made by the petitioner to him in this connection.
The report further said that the petitioner CSW, through her counsels, contended that the respondents have sealed the entire Ganga Jamuna area citing provisions under Section 18(1) of Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act 1956. However, the action was in total disregard to the High Court’s September 10, 2015, order passed in petition No. 1185/2015, the media report said.
The petitioner, accusing the two police officers of forcibly stopping the profession of her and hundreds of other CSWs, despite being an occupier, no notice was issued to her for eviction and it was breach of an undertaking submitted to the High Court in the earlier petition.
The petition further added that both the respondents failed to follow the due process of law by evicting her from her room and imposing curbs on her movement. The action adversely affected her right to livelihood, the CSW contended.
According to the petitioner, a similar attempt was made by the then Commissioner of Police to impose curbs on the CSW’s occupation in 2015. The same petitioner, along with other CSWs had then filed a petition in the High Court challenging the police action. In that case, the then Lakadganj Police Inspector had submitted an undertaking on oath assuring that the CSWs would not be evicted without following the due process of law, the report stated.
The High Court had then made it clear to the respondents that the conditioners in the undertaking would be binding on them. However, both the Police Officers failed to follow these conditions, the petitioner CSW argued.
Demonstration in Ganga Jamuna area:
Meanwhile, Jwala Jambhuwantrao Dhote, President of Urban Cell of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and her supporters staged a demonstration at the red light area. Dhote and her supporters, including some commercial sex workers, demanded withdrawal of police force from the area. Condemning police for sealing the red light area, Dhote and other supporters resorted to slogan-shouting and tore posters.
Lakadganj Police registered a case under Sections 143, 188, 269, 270 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 135 of Maharashtra Police Act, against Dhote, Karnalsingh Sardar, Adv Sunil Chokhare, Sanjay Hedau, Lata Maundekar, Ravindra Kothe, Hemlata Lohave, Shashi Thakur, Surekha Thakur, Pratibha Patil and others for the demonstration without permission and violating Covid-19 guidelines.