NEW DELHI: Recently, the Apex Court ordered that sex workers be provided Aadhaar cards based on a proforma certificate issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). In an order, Court said Everyone has the right to be treated with respect.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao ruled that the sex workers’ confidentiality must be respected and that their identities should not be published.
The Supreme Court ordered states and union territories to continue the process of identifying sex workers who do not have proof of identity and are denied ration distribution.
Justices B R Gavai and A S Bopanna said – “Aadhaar cards shall be issued to sex workers on the basis of a proforma certificate issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and submitted by a gazetted officer at the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) or the project director of State AIDS Control Society along with the enrolment form,”
During a hearing, the bench ordered – “every person has the right to be treated with dignity irrespective of activity. This should be kept in mind.”
UIDAI had earlier suggested to the Supreme Court that Aadhaar Card could be issued to sex workers without insisting on proof of identity, subject to their producing a certificate issued by a Gazetted Officer of NACO or a Gazetted Officer of Health Department of the respective State Governments/ Union Territory.
“The State Governments shall take support of the Community Based Organisation and not merely rely on the lists prepared by NACO for the purpose of implementing the earlier directions issued by this Court. Apart from ration cards, the State Governments shall also take steps to issue voter ID cards to the sex workers identified by NACO and Community Based Organisations after verification of the lists,” the apex court had earlier said.
The apex court, hearing a plea that has raised the problems faced by sex workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been passing orders for their welfare and on September 29 last year, had asked the Centre and others to provide dry ration to them without insisting on their identity proof.
The bench directed that authorities can take the assistance of NACO and state AIDS control societies which, in turn, will prepare a list of sex workers after verifying the information provided to them by the community-based organizations.