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PIL seeks police action against website ads on escort services

prostitution racket

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court today asked the city police to inform it about the action it proposes to take against advertisements in newspapers and websites which allegedly promote prostitution under the guise of offering escort services of women.

Under the laws of the country, prostitution is banned and the advertisements allowing this activity should be stopped forthwith by the police authorities, said a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Ali Ahmed Siddiqui.

Hearing the petition, a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka asked the police what steps it had taken against such ads in newspapers and websites.

Sanjay Salunkhe, Police Inspector of Social Servic Branch, filed an affidavit saying that Cyber Cell police had obtained an order from a magistrate’s court to delete or block objectionable websites on internet which are providing online escort services.

Accordingly, the Cyber Cell of Mumbai police had forwarded a letter containing list of 174 domain/websites to Group Coordinator (Cyber law), Department of Information Technology, New Delhi, informing that the websites were being allegedly used for purpose of prostitution which is a criminal offence.

However, it appears that till date no website has been blocked or deleted by the authorities, the police official said in the affidavit.

Besides, police had registered 25 cases under PITA (Prevention of Immoral Traffic Prevention Act) in the year 2014 on the basis of complaints received from the members of public. The corresponding number was 32 in 2015 and two this year, he said.

The matter has been posted for hearing beyond the summer vacations in June.

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