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SC seeks Centre's reply on plea seeking comprehensive anti-trafficking law

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
October 03, 2022 23:00 IST
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The Supreme Court has sought a response of the Centre to a plea seeking framing of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law incorporating 'Victim Protection Protocol' for the pre and post rescue stages of rehabilitation of commercially and sexually exploited women and children.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice JB Pardiwala took note of the submissions of lawyer Aparna Bhat, appearing for NGO 'Prajwala,' that the top court had way back on December 9, 2015 asked the Centre to set up the Organized Crime Investigative Agency to effectively deal with the offence of trafficking of women and children.

 

"Issue notice, returnable on November 01...Aishwarya Bhati, learned Additional Solicitor General instructed by Ms. Ruchi Kohli, learned counsel, accepts notice. The response to the application be filed on or before October 31, 2022," the top court said in the order.

The NGO, in its interim plea, said a new comprehensive legislation is needed as "sex trafficking is a multi-million dollar business and the traffickers are constantly evolving newer methods of perpetrating the crime."

It has sought a direction to the Centre to 'forthwith comply' with the directions passed by the top court in 2015 and file a complete status report.

The plea said the apex court in its order of December 9, 2015 had disposed of the 2004 PIL saying the ministry of home affairs shall set up the Organized Crime Investigative Agency.

"We hope that before 30th September, 2016 OCIA shall be set up and also hope that it is made functional before 1st December, 2016 looking at the importance of the issue before us."

It said the apex court had then recorded that the Ministry of Women and Child Development, as per a policy decision, would set up a Committee under chairmanship of its Secretary for preparing a comprehensive legislation dealing with the subject of trafficking.

It said a 'Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018, was presented and cleared in the Lok Sabha.

"That for reasons best known to the Union, the Bill lapsed as it was not presented in the Rajya Sabha and the election of a new government in 2019. Despite the passage of three years after the new government has assumed office, there have been no steps to re-introduce the bill or create any infrastructure for complying with the order," it said.

Post the pandemic and due to the 'complete breakdown of all systems owing to the pandemic,' trafficking has become rampant and rescue and rehabilitation work has actually been affected, it said.

There have been huge backlogs in courts and the need for more infrastructure and institutions to handle trafficking has assumed even more importance, it said.

The plea has sought a direction to the government to incorporate the principle of 'Victim Protection Protocol' for the pre-rescue and post-rescue stages of rehabilitation of commercially and sexually exploited women and children.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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