The Supreme Court today directed all the states to provide dry rations to sex workers, who are identified by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and legal services authorities, without insisting on any proof of identity.
The instant plea filed by an NGO named Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee has raised the issue of problems faced by over nine lakh female and transgender sex workers across the country on account of the COVID-19 pandemic
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ajay Rastogi passed the instant order while noting that the next date of hearing would be after 4 weeks. In this period, all the states have to file compliance report giving details of number of sex workers who got dry ration within this time bracket.
The identification of the beneficiaries is to be done with the assistance of NACO, district as well as state legal service authority.
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The apex court while asking the states to come up with an implementation infrastructure stated,
“We are aware of the facts that states are coming forward to provide assistance but the problem is that these sex workers don’t have any proof of identity. Therefore, all should be given rations. States should tell us how this should be implemented,”
The Supreme Court had taken note of many sex workers’ plight due to COVID-19 pandemic last week taken note of problems faced by sex workers on account of COVID-19 pandemic. The NGO, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, which has filed the instant plea, submitted through senior advocate Anand Grover that a survey among 1.2 lakh sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana found that 96 per cent of of them had lost their source of earning in the pandemic.
Pursuant to this, the court had directed the Centre and states to apprise it about modalities for distribution of monthly dry rations and cash transfer to them without insisting on proof of identity.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, who has also been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, had said plight of sex workers could be solved if they were provided ration cards without insisting on identity proof.