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Report No. 64

4.6. Question of presumption to be drawn from common agency considered.-

The Committee1 made a recommendation for adding a presumption to the effect that when two or more prostitutes associate under a common agency or link, they do so for their mutual gain or for the gain of another person. The object of the suggestion is to facilitate effective prosecution, by shifting the onus of proving to the contrary on the accused. The Committee also stated that the question whether such a presumption could be extended to one prostitute or not, may also be examined. The suggestion is relevant to the definition of 'brothel'2 given in section 2(a). We have carefully considered the suggestion. We do not, however, see the need for inserting any such presumption.

It may be true, that when two or more prostitutes associate under a common agency or link, if is more likely than not that they do so either for mutual gain or for the gain of a third person. But it appears to be unnecessary to insert presumptions on so many matters of detail in this Act, or, for that matter, in any other similar Act, unless practical difficulties, disclosed by the reported decisions or otherwise necessitate the drawing of such presumptions. Moreover, section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act is wide enough to empower the court to draw a presumption, having regard to the various considerations mentioned in that section. A host of inferences are daily drawn by the court about various matters, too numerous to be mentioned here conveniently. The substantive law need not, in the absence of compelling reasons, be made replete with presumptions.

1. Report of the Committee on amendments to the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, para. 5.3.

2. Para. 4.2, supra.

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

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