The LexGaze Weekly - HOPE

Right to livelihood - Destroying the stereotype

Yamika Khanna

Issue 15 | September  27, 2020

The Supreme Court, in an unprecedented order, directed the Centre and State Governments to supply food and financial aid to sex workers in lieu of the challenges faced by them due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Court noted that "They are in severe distress. This matter needs to be treated as urgent," and thus asserted that "....we are of the opinion that the relief as sought for in the I.A needs immediate attention of this Court. The learned Additional Solicitor General Solicitor General and the learned counsel appearing for the State Governments are directed to get instructions regarding the modalities for distribution of monthly dry rations and cash transfer to the sex workers without insisting on proof of identity."

The Court based its reasoning on Budhadev Karmaskar V. the State of West Bengal & Ors., sex workers have the right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution of India since they are human beings as well and their problems need to be addressed.

Although the government did initiate endeavours focusing on sex workers, it primarily required proof of identity which was found to not be in general possession and accessibility of the community. Therefore, it is imperative for the welfare of the community that such mechanisms acting as barriers, concerning availing the benefits of governmental measures, are removed by the Court.


1. The Delhi High Court directed media channels to exercise restraint in their reports and follow the Programme Code and other guidelines, both statutory and self-regulatory. The order came in a plea moved by Bollywood actor Rakul Preet Singh against the broadcasting of an allegedly defamatory and maligning campaign against her.

2. The functioning of courts via virtual medium has increased the productivity of young lawyers, particularly women lawyers, said Justice D Y Chandrachud, judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud stated, "I would particularly like to emphasize the role of women lawyers. Many young women carry multifold responsibilities at home, office etc. This(virtual Courts) ensures a very high level of productivity for young women lawyers. Because they know when their case will be called out. So they don't have to wait in court for the whole day. This is a remarkable change".

3. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru to hold separate admission tests by ways of the National Legal Aptitude Test (NLAT)

4. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah claimed that it is only concerned about refunds and non-refunds of money for tickets booked during the lockdown period.

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