The government on Monday passed the draft Bill to amend Section 377 of the IPC to make it a criminal offence for “prostitution” or “sex work” in the state.
The Bill was passed after a public hearing held by the state legislature.
The government had earlier told the Rajya Sabha that the amended Bill would not change the existing law but merely allow police to issue a certificate of registration for the registration of a person who is engaged in sex work.
The government also amended the existing provision for criminalisation of the act of “sorcery” by making it a Class 4 offence punishable with up to two years imprisonment.
The bill will be taken up for the second reading in the upper house of Parliament on Wednesday.
The new law will also make it mandatory for all police officers in the State to register sex offenders under Section 377.
It will also bring in new provisions to ensure that the act will be punishable by a maximum of four years imprisonment, which will be imposed by the court if convicted.
It is a big win for the government, which is battling the Supreme Court to make the provision for registration of sex offenders a law.
The court, which has recently said that a law must not be a “pre-condition for entry”, is yet to rule on the law.
The amendments, however, come at a cost to the state revenue and the public, the Times of India reported.
A senior police officer said the new law would have a negative impact on the revenue and would not help the state in combating prostitution.
“The new amendments will bring down the revenue by Rs 30 crore,” the officer told the Times.
It is also the first time the government has tried to amend the law on sex trafficking in India, which it has been doing since December 2016, when the Supreme Courts asked the Centre to take up the issue.