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Supreme Court Directs UIDAI To Issue Aadhaar Cards To Sex Workers Without Insisting On Proof Of Residence

Sohini Chowdhury
25 May 2022 6:07 AM GMT
Supreme Court Directs UIDAI To Issue Aadhaar Cards To Sex Workers Without Insisting On Proof Of Residence
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The Supreme Court, on Thursday, directed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to issue Aadhaar Cards to sex workers on the basis of a proforma certification submitted by a Gazetted Officer at NACO or the Project Director of the State Aids Control Society.

A Bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and A.S. Bopanna asked UIDAI to ensure that confidentiality of the sex workers is maintained in the process of issuance of Aadhar Cards.

"There shall be no breach of confidentiality in the process, including assignment of any code in the Aadhar enrolment numbers that identify the card holder as a sex worker."

On an earlier occasion, Senior Advocate, Anand Grover, appearing on behalf of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had apprised the Bench that Aadhar Cards were not being issued to sex workers without any proof of residence. In the affidavit filed by UIDAI, it had suggested that the sex workers who are on NACO's list and apply for Aadhar card, but are unable to submit proof of residence, could be issued the same, subject to production of proforma certificate by Gazetted Officer at NACO or the State Health Department verifying their particulars.

Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had also made some suggestions in this regard, which are as under -

  1. The Gazetted Officer of the State Health Department, who is authorized to submit the proforma certificate for a sex worker who applies for an Aadhar Card but is unable to furnish proof of residence should be specifically designated as:- "The Project Director of the State AIDS Control Society, or her/his nominee."
  2. The name and designation of the Gazette Officers who will be authorised to submit the 'proforma certificate' for sex workers desirous of applying for an Aadhar Card on behalf of NACO must be publicized on its website.
  3. NACO and the State AIDS Control Societies should publicize the procedure for sex workers who wish to apply for an Aadhar Card but who cannot furnish proof of residence through their websites as well as through outreach under the Targetted Intervention Programmes that they implement.
  4. The sample 'proforma certificate' submitted by UIDAI in its Additional affidavit dated 09.02.2022 in terms of the order dated 10.01.2022 as "Annexure R-1' on pages 5 and 6 of the said affidavit may be made readily available on the websites of UIDAI, NACO and State Aids Control Societies.
  5. There should be no breach of confidentiality in the process, including assignment of any code in the Aadhar enrolment numbers that identity the applicant/holder of the card as a sex worker.
  6. The procedure proposed by the UIDAI in its Additional affidavit dated 09.02.2011 may not be restricted to sex workers on the NACO list but also extended to those who are identified by CBOs after verification by the State Legal Services Authority or the State AIDS control Society. This is in line with the Hon'ble Court's directions to State Governments to extend dry ration support and access to ration cards and voter ID cards to sex workers who are not on NACO's list, vide orders dated 10.01.2022 and 28.02.2022.

The aforementioned suggestions were accepted by UIDAI.

The Apex Court had directed all the States to provide dry rations to sex workers, who are identified by NACO, without insisting on any proof of identity. In the meanwhile the Court directed the State Governments to issue them voter id and ration cards. Rivetingly, the said recommendation was made almost a decade back, by a Court appointed Panel for sex workers and accordingly directions were passed by the Apex Court far back in September, 2011, but is to be implemented.

[Case Title: Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal And Ors. Criminal Appeal No. 135 of 2010]

Click Here To Read/Download Order

Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 525

Also Read : Police Should Not Abuse Sex Workers, Media Should Not Publish Their Pictures During Raid & Rescue Operations : Supreme Court Issues Directions

Rights of sex workers - Constitution of India, 1950; Article 21- Basic Protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children - Directions issued to States/UTs for conditions conducive to sex workers to live with dignity in accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India - Police should not abuse them physically or verbally - Press Council of India to issue guidelines to media to protect their anonymity during raid and rescue operations - Various other directions issued.
Constitution of India - Article 142- In a catena of decisions of this Court, this power has been recognised and exercised, if need be, by issuing necessary directions to fill the vacuum till such time the legislature steps in to cover the gap or the executive discharges its role.
Aadhaar Act 2016 - UIDAI directed to isse Aadhaar cards to sex workers without insisting proof of residence




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