Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday said while there was a “laudable intention” behind the recent police raids on hotels in Malwani following complaints of a prostitution racket operating there, innocent persons cannot be harassed and their privacy should not be invaded. A division bench of justices V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident Sumeer Sabhar- wal, terming the raids as  “illegal, intrusive and unconstitutional” and seeking action against police officials involved.

Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told the court that police received complaints from local MLAs and residents that hotels in the area were being used to run prostitution racket. “The complaints claimed that girls living in the area were being abused by miscreants. Hence higher authorities directed the local police to take action,” he said, adding that during raids the police first checked the hotel registers and then called couples who had given fake names. The court, however, sought to know under what rules or provision of law, hotels are asked (by authorities) to take down the names and copy of identity cards of those persons.

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