As per Supreme Court’s September 29 instruction to state governments to provide dry ration to all sex workers, identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and district legal authorities, Nagaland has identified 5,315 sex workers.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in the matter, referred to the affidavit filed by Nagaland, a PTI report stated.
He said as per Nagaland’s affidavit, the state has identified 5,315 sex workers. When the counsel appearing for Nagaland told the bench about some technical difficulty in distribution as the system was fully computerised there, the bench said, “If it is online then it will be faster.”
“Larger states have implemented it. It is now four weeks since we gave the direction. You are still at the stage of identification. If you will take refuge under computerisation, it is going to take a year. You do whatever you want but don’t delay this,” the bench said.
“We have passed these directions as we are aware that there is serious problem. It is about their survival. It is a question of giving them ration and you should not delay it,” it said, adding, “It is a humane problem”.
The Court also pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for “delay” in identifying sex workers for providing them dry rations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and said there should not be any further delay as it is a “question of someone’s survival”.
At the fag end of hearing, the counsel appearing for Manipur raised the issue of financial constraint faced by the state.
The bench observed that North Eastern states rely on central funds and asked the counsel appearing for Manipur to give representation to the Centre on this issue.
Grover said some of states have given no data about number of sex workers and also about the rations provided to them.
He said that standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by NACO ensure confidentiality but there is no data for sex workers who are aged over 40.
The bench, which took note of Grover’s submissions, said that it would issue general directions to all the states to ensure that dry rations in given to sex workers identified by NACO and district or state legal services authority.
The bench, which directed that states would follow the NACO’s SOP and commence distribution of dry rations, said that states and UTs would file compliance affidavit within four weeks on the issue.