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Landlord is not liable for immoral trafficking if he was unaware that the property was being used as a brothel: Karnataka HC

Team SoOLEGAL 25 Mar 2022 4:19pm

Landlord is not liable for immoral trafficking if he was unaware that the property was being used as a brothel: Karnataka HC

NEW DELHI: The Karnataka High Court ruled that a landlord whose property has been used as a brothel cannot be prosecuted underneath the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 if he or she was unaware that the premises were being used for that reason.

As a result, single-judge Justice M Nagaprasanna dismissed criminal charges against a landlord, claiming that he was unaware that his property was being used to run a brothel.

The petition was filed by the owner of a residential property that had been rented to accused no. 1 under a rental agreement. The accused was found to be running a brothel after the police searched the premises. The petitioner and others were charged with crimes under Sections 3, 4, 5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and Section 370 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

When the petitioner was served with a notice, he claimed that he was unaware of the activities taking place in the house he had rented out. However, the police filed a charge sheet against him under Section 3 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 prompting the petitioner to seek relief from the High Court.

The petitioner claimed that he was the owner of the property and that he was unaware of the activities taking place there because he was staying far away. The respondent, on the other hand, argued that because the petitioner is the owner, he can be tried under Section 3 of the Act for letting the premises be used as a brothel.

When considering the case, the Court noted that Section 3(2)(b) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 states that “anyone who is the owner, lessor, or landlord of a premises and lets it out with the knowledge that the premises or any part of it is intended to be used as a brothel, can be brought under the ambit of the offence.”

The Court noted that in the present case, the petitioner indicated in his reply that he was unaware that the premises were being used as a brothel and also that he lived far away, which the police also affirmed in the charge sheet filed against him.

As a result, the petition was permitted, and criminal proceedings against the petitioner were quashed, it was also stated that the court's observations only apply to the petitioner at hand and that they have no bearing on any other accused pending in other forums.



Tagged: Karnataka HC   Immoral Traffic Act   Justice M Nagaprasanna   Indian Penal Code   criminal Act  
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