Supreme Court has ordered the government of states and union territories to begin immediately the process of issuing Aadhaar cards, ration cards and voter identity cards to sex workers, noting that fundamental rights are guaranteed to every citizen irrespective of vocation.
The petition has been moved by a non-profit organization (NGO), Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee. Highlighting the destitution faced by sex workers on account of COVID-19 and has sought relief for over nine lakh female and transgender sex workers across India.
The three-judge bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna expressed its dissatisfaction with the inaction as the order to issue ration cards to the sex workers was issued in 2011 and are not implemented yet.
“As this Court has directed the State Governments and the Union Territories to issue ration cards and identity cards to sex workers almost a decade back, there is no reason as to why such direction has not been implemented till now,” the court said.
The bench added, “Right to dignity is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to every citizen of this country irrespective of his/her vocation. There is a bounden duty cast on the government to provide basic amenities to the citizens of this country. The State Governments/Union Territories and other authorities are directed to commence the process of issuance of ration cards/ Voters Identity cards immediately to sex workers from the list that is maintained by NACO.”
On September 29, 2020, the apex court had ordered Union government and others to provide dry ration to all the sex workers without insisting them to provide their identity proof.