SC directs state govts to provide sex workers dry ration without identity proof

The Supreme Court Tuesday directed state governments to ensure that dry ration is provided to sex workers without insisting on identification proof.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ajay Rastogi said that sex workers who are identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and state committees will be given this benefit.

The bench also directed the state government to apprise the Court of compliance of its order and the number of sex workers who would benefit from the Court’s order within four weeks.

In so far as financial aid to the sex workers is concerned, the bench said it would deal with this aspect later.

The Court was hearing an application filed by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a registered society run by sex workers in Kolkata, West Bengal, highlighting the impoverishment and destitution that sex workers in the country are facing on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its plea, the organization requested monthly dry rations to sex workers and a cash transfer to the tune of Rs. 5000 per month through the Covid-19 pandemic. It also sought an additional cash transfer to the tune of Rs 2500 for those with school-going children.

Appearing for the Central Government, Additional Solicitor General RS Suri submitted that, in principle, the Centre did not have objections if the states provide amenities without insisting for identity proof.

The applicant was represented by senior advocate Anand Grover.