'Sex workers entitled to protection of human decency,' SC directs police to treat them with dignity

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stressed upon the basic protection of human decency as well as dignity saying that it extends to the sex workers as well. The top court ruled that police should not abuse the sex workers verbally or physically.  

The apex court remarked, “…basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children, who, bearing the brunt of social stigma attached to their work, are removed to the fringes of the society, deprived of their right to live with dignity and opportunities to provide the same to their children,” reported LiveLaw. 

The Surpreme Court observed that the sex workers are often treated brutally when they approach police or any law enforcement agencies. On which the top court said police should be ‘sensitised’ towards the sex workers and should treat them with dignity.

It further implied that the sex workers also enjoy all the basic and fundamental rights guranteed by the Indian constitutions.  

The top court’s verdict came on the grounds of several recommendations made by a Court-appointed panel on the rights of sex workers and their children. A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and A.S. Bopanna said that the rulings will comply until the Centre comes up with a legislation. 

A panel had been constituted regarding the matter where three aspectes were explored. The aspectes were: Prevention of trafficking; Rehabilitation of sex workers who wish to leave sex work; and Conditions conducive for sex workers who wish to continue working as sex workers with dignity.

Meanwhile, when the case listed in the Supreme Court in 2016, the Centre had informed that a recommendations of the committee are under consideration. Afterwards, the central government published a draft regarding the same. 

The apex court acknowledged that the right to life with dignity extends to sex workers and their children. The Supreme Court also directed media for not uploading the pictures of sex workers with their clinets revealing their identiy. However, those who will go against the rulings, will be consider an offence of voyeurism under Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code. The Press Council of India has been asked to issue appropriate guidelines regarding the issue. 

The bench had directed the state governments and the Centre to act upon the recommendations. 


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