Leading lawyer and public prosecutor, Raghunath Tyagi, lives an upper middle- class life in India with his only son, Akash Manmohan. Raghunath would like his son to take an interest in law or a business, but all Akash is interested in is poems. One day Akash overhears one of his poems being sung by a woman. He is attracted to this woman, whose name is Shabnam, and would like to marry her. The only problem is his dad, who is strongly opposed to his son marrying a woman of questionable character and means – a prostitute. But Akash is adamant, leaves his dad’s house and continues his affair with Shabnam. Shabnam wants to break free from the brothel madame, Aminabai, and does so, only to find that Aminabai has sold her to a man named Nawab for Rs.20,000/-. Angered at Aminabai, Shabnam goes to confront her, and as a result Amina is killed, and Shabnam is arrested and charged with first degree murder – the punishment for which, under Section 302 of the Indian Pencal Code is Life Imprisonment or Death. And it is the death sentence that the Public Prosecutor Tyagi would like to see carried out on Shabnam, who he considers a problem for himself and his son.