Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Directs States To Ensure Supply Of Dry Ration To Sex Workers

Radhika Roy
28 Oct 2020 2:19 PM GMT
Supreme Court Directs States To Ensure Supply Of Dry Ration To Sex Workers
x

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed State Governments to follow the Standard Operation Procedure formulated by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and to commence distribution of dry ration to sex workers. Further, the States have also been directed to file compliance reports pertaining to the implementation of schemes for the distribution of ration. Additionally, in order...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed State Governments to follow the Standard Operation Procedure formulated by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and to commence distribution of dry ration to sex workers. 

Further, the States have also been directed to file compliance reports pertaining to the implementation of schemes for the distribution of ration. Additionally, in order to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the sex workers, the States have been directed to follow the framework set up by NACO.

A Bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao presided over the matter and decided to pass a general direction in today's proceedings and then observe what the States had to respond.

The general directions were passed during the hearing of a plea highlighting the distress faced by sex workers on account of the ongoing pandemic in the proceedings of Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal & Ors., wherein a panel had been set up to improve the living conditions of the community.

In the previous hearing, the Supreme Court had directed the State Governments to provide dry rations for identified sex workers by NACO and State Governments sans insistence of identity proof.

UTTAR PRADESH

Today, Senior Advocate Jayant Bhushan, Amicus Curiae, informed the Bench that State of Uttar Pradesh recorded 27,000 sex workers who are to get ration under the National Food Safety Act.

The Court then noted the submission of Advocate Garima Prashad, Counsel for UP, and stated that four weeks had been given earlier and the same should have been enough to provide ration.

"Affidavit filed by State of UP is unclear about implementation of order dated September 29. Advocate Prashad submits that State of UP is still in process of identification. We expect the State to comply with the directions", stated the Supreme Court.

MAHARASHTRA

Coming to the State of Maharashtra, Bhushan read out the Affidavit filed and submitted that out of 35 districts, 8 had submitted reports and the rest had initiated the process. However, in the reports of the 8 district collectors, it was stated that one kilo of each item had been given per family and it was not known whether the same was sufficient.

The Bench then asked Advocate Sachin Patil, appearing for Maharashtra, about the schemes of ration present in the State and asked for the same to be extended to the sex workers. It was further noted that the distribution was not uniform or sufficient.

Patil submitted that the reports for the other districts had not been received, however, within a week, he would place on record the figures. Accordingly, the Court directed the Staet to implement the schemes of distribution for sex workers and to file a compliance affidavit within two weeks.

ASSAM

Bhushan informed the Court that NACO had identified 11,535 sex workers in the State and the Deputy Commissioners had been asked to provide relief. Further, the State claimed to have disbursed 32 lakhs, but there was no rationale provided for the same.

The Bench informed Advocate Diksha Rai, appearing for State of Assam, that uniformity had to be maintained and there was a need for assurance that the schemes would be implemented. Rai submitted to the Court that they would ensure the same within two weeks.

NAGALAND

Bhushan submitted that NACO had identified 5,315 sex workers and it was stated that they already had ration cards. However, the process to define who was covered and who was not covered by NFSA was yet to be determined.

Advocate K. Enatoli Sema, appearing for Nagaland, submitted that there was difficulty in implementing the scheme as the process had been computerized. Further, NACO was also aware of the difficulties.

To this, Justice Rao stated that Nagaland was not the only State which was facing such problems and help had to be taken from DLSA, NGOs etc.

"You have to act faster. 4 weeks have passed already. You are hiding under the issues of computerization. If this goes on, it'll continue for a year. Do it fast. This is not our job. File an Affidavit of compliance within two weeks".

Senior Advocate Anand Grover then sought to make a few submissions before the Court. He stated that some States were not taking the data which had been mapped by NACO and further, there was no data provided as to how many sex workers had been registered by NACO and how many were being given ration. He provided the example of Jharkhand and some States which had submitted that they had no sex workers.

Grover further highlighted the issue of confidentiality of sex workers and informed the Court that NACO had understood that the same had to be preserved. Accordingly, the modalities had been worked out. There was further another issue pertaining to the recording of sex workers who are less than 40 years old.

The Supreme Court recorded the submissions and provided a general direction to all States, noting that further directions would be given on the basis of the response of the States.


Next Story
Share it