October 16, 2018
On 1 May 1958, a young woman was an unusual cynosure of all eyes in a courtroom in the north Indian city of Allahabad.
Husna Bai, a 24-year-old woman, told Judge Jagdish Sahai that she was a prostitute. Invoking the constitution, she had filed a petition challenging the validity of a new law to ban trafficking in human bodies.
By striking at her means of livelihood, Bai argued, the new law had “frustrated the purpose of the welfare state established by the Constitution in the country”.