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Continue Identifying Sex Workers, Distribute Dry Ration: Supreme Court Orders States to Distribute Dry Ration

On Monday, the Supreme Court urged all states to continue the process of identifying sex workers and distributing dry rations.

A Bench comprised of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai further opined that the figures given in the status reports were not realistic and that states should make efforts and seek assistance from Community-Based Organizations (CBO) rather than relying solely on the list prepared by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for the purpose of implementing directions.


It further stated that when the list has been verified, voter ID cards would be distributed to sex workers recognised by NACO and CBOs.

The Court has requested that progress updates on the fulfilment of the orders included in the ruling of January 10, 2022, be provided within three weeks. After four weeks, the case was scheduled.


The UIDAI had submitted an affidavit informing the Court that the authority has suggested that Aadhaar cards be granted to sex workers without requiring evidence of identification, subject to the condition of submitting a certificate issued by a gazetted official of NACO/State Health Department. The Amicus requested some time to investigate the feasibility of the same.

The court was considering petitions that voiced concerns about the challenges experienced by sex workers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Previously, the Supreme Court authorised all state governments to distribute dry rations to sex workers without requiring any evidence of identification. It also requested that all states provide a compliance report within four weeks detailing the number of sex workers who received dry rations during this time period.

The Supreme Court stated that it will subsequently consider whether financial support might be granted to them during the COVID-19 outbreak.


The petition was filed by the NGO Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee and Budhadev Karmaskar, who approached the Court to highlight the destitution experienced by sex workers as a result of COVID-19 and has sought support programs for over nine lakh female and transgender sex workers across the nation.

The Supreme Court had already taken note of the issues experienced by sex workers as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic and instructed the Centre and states to inform it of the methods for distributing monthly dry rations and monetary transfers to them without requiring confirmation of identification.