Supreme Court sets deadline to house sex workers' rehab panel

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central Government to provide accommodation for the committee appointed to suggest measures to improve welfare of sex workers willing to quit their calling, within three weeks.

A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Gyan Sudha Mishra directed Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra to ensure suitable office space for the committee at the Law Commission here.

The court also asked senior advocate Pradeep Ghosh, heading the panel along with senior counsel Jayant Bhushan, to take a note of   highly educated girls from well to do families joining the trade.

“We find girls from very good families, even with university education, entering the profession driven by a desire for high life like going to the malls every second day. If they join it (trade) voluntarily, what do you have for them,” the bench questioned.

The court, on July 21 last year, had constituted the committee to rehabilitate willing sex workers. At present, there are over three million sex workers in the country, including those from Nepal, Bangladesh and former Soviet Union.

Several surveys reflects on the government’s nonchalance to the plight of the sex workers across the country.

The bench said it would like to monitor the rehabilitation process by the Centre and states to ensure that the exercise is not an eyewash.

“We routinely have conferences and seminars on these issues and the matter ends there. No concrete measures are taken to end the malaise. We want to make sure that something is done that satisfies our conscience. It should not be a mere eyewash,” the bench said.

The court had earlier directed the centre and state governments to make it hassle-free for sex workers to avail ration cards and voter ID-cards.

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