Legalise prostitution, says retired SC Judge Santosh Hegde

Supporting the Law Commission’s recommendation on allowing gambling and betting in sports, retired Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde today even favoured legalising prostitution, saying vices cannot be abolished by the state.

“A person who thinks vices can be abolished by law is living in a fool’s paradise,” said the former Solicitor General of India.

The Law Commission yesterday recommended that gambling and betting in sports be allowed as regulated activities taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

“It’s a very good recommendation”, Hegde told PTI. “There are certain vices which cannot be controlled by law and any attempt to control such vices will lead to illegal systems developing”.

“We have experienced it earlier when there was prohibition. There is illicit liquor production there (where prohibition was in place). Government loses excise duty, the vice will continue, you can’t control it. These are certain things which can’t be controlled by law”, he said.

Similarly, illegal gambling is going on in the country.

Making it legitimate and by controlling it, 70-75 per cent of illegal activities will stop, the former Karnataka Lokayukta said.

“But certain amount of control is absolutely necessary”.

Asked if he thought prostitution should also be legalised, Hegde said: “It has to be legalised. It’s going on everywhere. What’s the big idea of..(keeping it illegal). It should be legalised”.

“It (prostitution) has become a regular profession now.

It should be legalised and people (engaged in prostitution) should be licensed. Then alone there will be control over the system”, Hegde said.

These are certain vices which cannot be abolished by the state, he said. Otherwise, it would then go on in an illegal manner. Better than that was to have control over the system.

“Which is the city or the state where there is no prostitution? We are just closing our eyes and saying it’s not there.

And in places like Mumbai, there are certain areas recognised by the Government where prostitution continues.

Therefore, morality can’t be controlled by law. It can only be controlled by religion and religious leaders”, he said.

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