The Supreme Court noted that the right to dignity is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to every citizen of India irrespective of their vocation. As such, it directed the state governments and union territories to issue ration cards and voter IDs immediately to sex workers.
The bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna found that its directions to provide sex workers, the same, almost a decade ago were not complied with. The court said there is no reason as to why such direction has not been implemented till now.
The bench was hearing an application filed by Dubar Mahila Samanwaya Committee seeking direction to the authorities to provide monthly dry rations and cash transfer to sex workers who were struggling to survive during the pandemic. According to the petition, sex workers were deprived of dry rations on the ground that they were unable to produce proof of identity.
“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 issuance of ration cards and voter identity cards immediately to sex workers from the list that is maintained by NACO.”
The court directed the state governments and union territories, respectively, to continue the distribution of dry rations to sex workers without insisting on ration cards and other proof of residence and profession by following the procedure. The state governments and union territories have also been asked to file a status report relating to the issuance of ration cards, Voter IDs and Aadhar Cards within a period of four weeks from the date of order.