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Report No. 64

3.4. Question of total prohibition.-

Theoretically, the question why prostitution should not be totally prohibited, or restricted more intensively than at present, could certainly be raised. Such a question has, in fact, been raised outside India more than once. This and similar proposals raise vital questions as to how far the law ought to go in regard to interference with the freedom of an individual to act in the sphere of sex. As a general rule, only behaviour which causes harm to the individual or to the community should be prohibited by the criminal law.

There is, however, no universal agreement as to what acts cause such harm. That the true object of the penal law is to provide punishment when injury has been inflicted-ordinarily with the requisite mens rea-is not denied. But the question to be asked in making out the bounds of criminality would be, what constitutes sufficient injury, and when is the imposition of Punishment for causing that injury justified. The question, therefore, that arises again and again is: What conduct ought to be declared as a crime?

Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 Back

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