Sunday, January 25, 2009

India legalizes internet prostitution

Sex RightsNew Delhi. Responding to the long held demand by some rights groups and sexual workers, India has finally legalized prostitution. But there is a catch – the legalization has been sanctioned only in the virtual world. Starting this Monday, incidentally the Republic Day of India, internet prostitution would become a legitimate virtual activity in various states of India, except Kashmir, which is a special part of the Indian republic.

“We wanted to test out how this works out in the virtual world before implementing it in the real world. If nothing untoward happens, we might see prostitution becoming a lawful activity in the real life as well.” Ms. Ambika Soni, central minister for cultural activities, informed.

While rights group welcome the step, calling it a ‘giant leap’ towards the right direction, they were mighty confused on how the law will work. Some of them interpreted the law as sanctioning internet interactions and transactions for receiving or offering sex services. Such people deem the law as being unfair to people not having access to internet.

“What about the poor and illiterate prostitutes who have no knowledge of internet? And what about people who want to receive services of prostitutes but are not internet savvy? This is an elitist law. On an occasion when we are celebrating being a republic, it’s a shame that government is implementing a discriminatory law.” a counsel for rights group and prostitutes told Faking News.

Such people also suspect that the law would give rise to ‘virtual pimps’, who would spot the opportunity to offer internet services to prostitutes and their clients. Some other people feared that social networking websites will now see even more increased spam from people seeking and offering services of prostitutes and escorts.

On the other hand, there were people with dissenting opinions, who thought that the above set of people were being too optimistic with the interpretation of the law. These pessimists think that the law allows existence of sex services in the virtual world only, and no actual offering or receiving of such services would take place in the real world.

“This is a complete hogwash by the government. It’s true that most of us are increasingly becoming internet savvy and prefer to do most of the things online. But tell me, who on earth would like to have sex online? Better, can the government tell me how to have sex with help of keyboards and computer monitors?” Karthik, a software engineer, angrily asked.

The government officials and ministers refused to elaborate upon the law and told that this was the job of courts and not the lawmakers. The legal society too was divided over the interpretation of law, but they expressed helplessness over the situation.

“Unless a case comes up before a court and all arguments are put before a jury, no one can say for sure what should be the correct interpretation of this law. Let’s wait till someone is arrested for breaking this law, and then we will know what does the law stipulate. Did you know what TADA or POTA was all about? Once people like Sanjay Dutt and Raja Bhaiyaa were arrested for breaking the law, we knew what it was.” Krishna Kanishthmalani, a leading lawyer told Faking News.

Although Mr. Kanishthmalani drew flak from other lawyers for comparing anti-terrorism and national security laws with legalization of online prostitution, but everyone agreed that Indians will have to wait till someone broke the law.

“Law breakers are the most important set of people after law makers. Both of them decide what is good for us. Sometimes together.” a lawyer quipped.


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