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Report No. 64

3.6. Wider view not recommended.-

It appears to us that so far as prostitution is concerned, the adoption of a wider view should not be recommended-in any case at this stage. Conduct of a particular type may be

(i) approved by law;

(ii) permitted without approval or disapproval by law;

(iii) disapproved but not prohibited by law;

(iv) prohibited by law.

Prostitution falls partly within category (iii) and partly within category (iv) above.1 The fact that certain types of prostitution are not totally prohibited by law, does not necessarily imply that they are approved by the law. We think that, in principle, in the absence of very strong public opinion to the contrary, the present legislative approach as regards prostitution is, broadly speaking, satisfactory. Prostitution, in so far as it consists of secret acts of consenting individuals without exploitation, and in private, is not appropriate for penal sanctions, and the fact that the pleasure derived from such prostitution is one which is socially disapproved, is not in itself a sufficient ground for the imposition of criminal sanctions.

1. Paras. 3.1 to 3.4, supra.

3.7. Moreover, it appears to us that where the law deals with sexual behaviour between consenting parties in private, its enforcement would be difficult. Laws which prohibit sexual acts when committed in private-assuming that the acts are considered appropriate for penal sanctions1-can, for obvious reasons, be enforced only to a limited extent, however much the conduct may be, the subject of moral condemnation.2

1. Para. 3.6, supra.

2. See also para. 3.16, infra.

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

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