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The Delhi High Court yesterday refused to entertain a petition seeking food, accommodation, medicine etc for sex workers and LGBT community in the city during the COVID-19 lockdown. (Anurag Chauhan vs UOI)
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal remarked,
The Petitioner, Advocate Anurag Chauhan, had moved the High Court contending that the Delhi Government and the Central Government had deviated from their aims and objectives of providing basic financial aid to sex workers and the LGBT community.
"Sex workers are facing issues like scarcity of food. But this is not the only difficulty. Different sex workers need different assistance depending on their health, financial and living situations. There are sex wokers living with HIV, hypertension, diabetes and several other ailments and they have medicinal requirements on a regular basis, Women need other things too be it santizers, napkins or baby food. There are many sex wrokers who also need mental health to overcome these testing times.", the Petition had stated.
It was added that most sex workers were migrants and had no ration card, thus keeping them outside the ambit of PDS and other aids.
Invoking Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner sought effective measures for providing financial aid including food, shelter etc to sex workers and LGBT community. Directions were also sought to set up a helpline number and to exempt sex works and LGBT community from paying rent.
In response to the assertions made by the Petitioner, the Court remarked,
It was further observed that although the Petitioner had sought suspension of rent, the respective landlords had not been impleaded.
The Court also pointed out that in spite of the High Court Rules requiring the Petitioner to disclose the earlier PILs filed by him along with their outcome, the Petitioner paid mere lip service to the requirement by stating “disposed of”.
He is even now not telling whether the earlier petitions have been dismissed, the Court recorded.
Observing that the Central, as well as the State Government had already brought out several schemes to alleviate hardship to the citizens in the wake of COVID-19, the Court opined that there was no case that sex workers and LGBT community were being discriminated against.
The Court thus concluded that the PIL deserved to be dismissed with costs.
The Petitioner then proceeded to withdraw the petition.
The request was allowed by the Court with the following direction that
Read the Order: