House owner not liable for prosecution if prostitution racket run without his knowledge: Karnataka HC

Bengaluru: In an important development, the Karnataka High Court has ruled that if the house owner is not aware of a prostitution racket being run in the premises given on rent, then he is not liable to be prosecuted under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

The single bench headed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna gave the verdict on Thursday quashing the FIR in this regard against the house owner Prabhuraj, a resident of Nagarbhavi in Bengaluru.

Prabhuraj had filed a petition before the Karnataka High Court to quash the FIR filed by the Chandra Layout police.

Under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act Sections 3 (2) (B), the legal proceedings could be initiated only if the house owner is aware of the prostitution racket in any place. In this case, the owner was not aware of what was happening at his residence, the bench noted.

The owner was not living in the house and was putting up at another place, the police had said.

“The police in their charge sheet have mentioned it. This being the case, if it is allowed to book the house owner, then it amounts to harassment and misuse of the law against the petitioner,” the bench said.

Petitioner had given his house on rent in December 2019. The police had conducted raid on the house in January 2020. They busted a prostitution racket and booked an FIR against the house owner. The house owner had approached the court seeking quashing of the entire legal proceedings against him.


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