New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the central government to immediately give ration cards, voter IDs to sex workers. The court said that every citizen has got a fundamental right. Whatever be his profession. Along with this, the court directed the Centre, all the states and union territories to immediately initiate the process of issuing voter ID cards, Aadhaar and ration cards to sex workers.
They have also been ordered to continue providing ration. The apex court gave this direction during the hearing of the petition of the NGO ‘Darbar Mahila Coordination Committee’. The petition has raised the problems being faced by sex workers due to the Kovid-19 epidemic. The court has been issuing orders for their welfare. On September 29 last year, the court had directed the Center and others to provide ration to them without asking for proof of identity (for sexual deficiencies).
Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna expressed his displeasure over the directive to provide ration to sex workers was issued in 2011 but is yet to be implemented. The bench said, “State governments and union territories were directed to issue ration cards and identity cards about a decade ago. There is no reason why those instructions have not been implemented so far.”
The court said, “Every citizen of the country is given a fundamental right, irrespective of his profession. The government is duty bound to provide basic facilities to the citizens of the country. The Central Government, State Governments and other authorities are directed to start the process of issuing Ration Card, Voter ID Card and Aadhar Card immediately.
The bench said, “The status report regarding issuance of ration card, voter ID card and Aadhar card to the sex workers should be filed within four weeks from today and in the meantime the State Governments and Union Territories as per the earlier orders.” The sex workers are instructed to continue distribution of ration without asking for ration card or other identity card as mentioned. ,
The bench said that the copy of the order should be sent to the state and district legal services authorities for necessary action. It also directed the government to keep the names and identities of sex workers confidential while making various ID cards.