Issue Aadhaar, voter cards to sex workers: Supreme Court

They are entitled as citizens to basic amenities, court tells Centre, States

December 14, 2021 10:29 pm | Updated December 15, 2021 02:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A Supreme Court bench, led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, directed States and Union Territories to immediately start the process of issuing voter ID cards, Aadhaar and ration cards to sex workers across the country. File

A Supreme Court bench, led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, directed States and Union Territories to immediately start the process of issuing voter ID cards, Aadhaar and ration cards to sex workers across the country. File

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed States and Union Territories to immediately start the process of issuing voter ID cards, Aadhaar and ration cards to sex workers across the country.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said every person is guaranteed their fundamental rights irrespective of vocation.

“The fundamental rights are guaranteed to every citizen of the country irrespective of his/her vocation. There is a bounden duty on the government to provide basic amenities to the citizens of the country. The Central government, State governments and other authorities are directed to commence the process of issuance of ration cards, voter ID cards and Aadhaar cards immediately,” the court ordered.

The court found that its directions a decade ago to provide sex workers with ration cards have not been complied with yet.

“The State governments and UTs were directed to issue ration cards and identity cards to sex workers almost a decade back and there is no reason as to why such directions are not implemented till now,” the Bench noted.

The court directed that authorities can take assistance from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and State AIDS control societies, which would in turn prepare a list of sex workers after verifying the information provided to them by the community-based organisations.

“The status report related to issuance of ration cards, voter ID cards and Aadhaar cards to the sex workers be filed in a period of four weeks from today and in the meanwhile, State governments and UTs are directed to continue distribution of dry ration to sex workers without insisting on ration cards and other proofs of identity as mentioned in earlier orders,” the court said.

The apex court, on September 29, 2020, had directed States to provide dry rations to sex workers, identified by NACO, without insisting on any proof of identity and had sought status report on compliance.

“Right to food has been recognised as a human right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Though, there is some improvement in the situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we are of the view that the constitutional obligation on the State governments and Union Territories to provide basic amenities to the citizens of this country takes into its fold that the sex workers are entitled for being provided dry ration,” the court had said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.