SC seeks related bill from Centre on right to life of sex workers

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, while hearing the matter of giving the right to live with dignity to sex workers, directed the central government to share the copy of the bill related to it with the panel within two weeks or else the cabinet secretary will be summoned to the court. The Supreme Court had already directed the Centre to enact a law on the matter.

During the hearing today, advocate Anand Grover said that till now West Bengal has only filed the affidavit. The Supreme Court, in May, had issued some guidelines to the state governments for sex workers to lead a dignified life. Considering the work of sex workers as a profession, the court had directed all the states and union territories not to interfere in their work. The court had said that no action should be taken in the matter of consensual sex.

The court had said that sex workers also have the right to live with dignity and safety under the law. The court had said that when it is proved that the sex worker is an adult and is having sex of their own free will, then the police should refrain from interfering in it. Every citizen of the country has the right to live with dignity under Article 21. In such a situation, the police should not harass the sex worker by raiding. The court had said that it is illegal to run a brothel, but it is not illegal to have sex of your own free will.

The court had said that no child can be separated from their mother because their mother is a prostitute. If a minor child is found residing with a sex worker in brothels, it should not be assumed that they have been brought in for trafficking. The court had said that if a sex worker has been subjected to sexual violence, then they should be provided immediate treatment and should be given all the facilities which are available to the victim of sexual harassment. The court had directed the Press Council of India to appeal to the journalists that when the police conduct raids or conduct any campaign, the identity of the sex worker should not be revealed, whether a victim or an accused.

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