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Provide Ration To Sex Workers Without Identity Proof: SC Directs States

The bench, citing the points raised in the application, said the court is concerned that sex workers can’t access dry ration, cash transfers and other facilities due to lack of identity proof.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the state governments to provide dry ration to all sex workers, who have been identified by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and district legal authorities, without asking for ration card or any other identification proof.

A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Ajay Rastogi took into account the hardships faced by the sex workers, who have been rendered almost destitute due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The bench said that none of state governments have taken adversarial stand to its direction, and asked the authorities concerned to inform it within four weeks about the implementation of its order and also the number of sex workers who have benefited from its direction.

The remarks from the bench came during the hearing of an application moved by the NGO Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee seeking relief for over nine lakh female and transgender sex workers across the country.

The NGO had moved the apex court citing the hardships faced by the sex workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The top court also asked the Centre to inform it within four weeks if there is a possibility to provide financial aid to the sex workers.

The bench, citing the points raised in the application, said the court is concerned that sex workers can’t access dry ration, cash transfers and other facilities due to lack of identity proof.

Additional Solicitor General R.S. Suri contended before the bench that the Centre has no objection if amenities are provided by the states without insisting on identity proof. The counsels for Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal informed the bench that they have already taken steps in this direction.

The amicus curiae in the matter, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, suggested that the court should monitor the implementation of its order.

Another amicus curiae in the matter said that sex workers should be permitted to open bank accounts without identity proof, which will help them in receiving benefits rolled out either by the Centre or the states.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the applicants, contended that there are gaps in the process of identification of sex workers. To which, the bench replied, “We are concerned at present with providing dry ration to sex workers for their survival.”

The court will hear the matter again in the last week of October.

Cities

Karnataka recoveries shot up to 13,550; new cases dip

Higher discharges were reported from districts across the state, with 1,352 from Mysuru, 339 from Mandya and 314 from Davangere.

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Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Oct 23 : Maintaining its upward trend, Covid recoveries shot up to 13,550 on a day, while new cases declined to 5,778 across Karnataka.

“With 13,550 patients discharged on Wednesday, recoveries soared to 6,84,835 till date, while 5,778 fresh cases took the state’s Covid tally to 7,88,551, including 92,927 active cases so far,” said the state’s health bulletin on Thursday.

The pandemic claimed 74 lives in the last 24 hours across the southern state, taking its death toll to 10,770, including 3,667 in Bengaluru, with 36 in the last 24 hours.

Discharges also increased to 7,683 on a day in Bengaluru, taking its recoveries to 2,56,267 till date, while 2,807 new cases increased its Covid tally to 3,18,366, including 58,431 active cases so far.

“The number of recoveries in the state outnumbered the number of new cases for the 8th consecutive day,” state health and medical education minister K. Sudhakar tweeted on Thursday.

Higher discharges were reported from districts across the state, with 1,352 from Mysuru, 339 from Mandya and 314 from Davangere.

Of the 940 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 371 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 67 in Ballari, 55 in Dharwad, 45 in Chamarajanagar and 44 in Hassan.

Out of 1,07,354 tests conducted in 155 labs across the state on Wednesday, 20,853 were through rapid antigen detection and 86,501 through RT-PCR method, which is over 80 per cent of the total tests.

“Positivity rate declined to 5.38 per cent and case fatality rate at 1.28 per cent,” the bulletin said.

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Cities

Thunderstorms likely at few places in Andhra’s Rayalaseema

The depression lay at a latitude of 18.7 degrees north and 87 degrees east longitude, about 180 km southeast of Paradip in Odisha, 350 km southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal and 490 km southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.

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Mumbai Rains Thunderstorm

Amaravati, Oct 22 : The Met Department has forecast thunderstorms with lightning at isolated places in Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema on Friday.

Rayalaseema comprises the four districts of Kurnool, Anantapur, Kadapa and Chittor in southern Andhra Pradesh.

However, the Met Department did not predict any rainfall on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, the well-marked low pressure area over west central Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood has concentrated into a depression over northwest and adjoining west central region off the east coast.

The depression lay at a latitude of 18.7 degrees north and 87 degrees east longitude, about 180 km southeast of Paradip in Odisha, 350 km southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal and 490 km southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.

“It is very likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move north northeastwards and cross West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coast as a deep depression between Sagar Islands and Khepupara on Friday afternoon,” said a Met official.

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India

DMK to protest as Guv seeks time to study students quota bill

Stalin, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, had written to Purohit on Wednesday to give his assent to the Bill.

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Mk Stalin

Chennai, Oct 22 : DMK President M.K. Stalin on Thursday said his party will hold a massive protest outside the Raj Bhavan on Saturday to demand Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit give his immediate assent to the bill for reservation to government school students in medical college admissions.

Stalin made the announcement after he received a reply to his letter in this regard from the Governor on Thursday.

In his letter, Purohit had said that he needs three to four weeks time to arrive at a decision on the Bill that provides 7.5 per cent horizontal reservation in medical college admissions to those who had studied in government schools.

“The same has also been informed to the delegation of Ministers who called on me recently,” he told Stalin.

Stalin, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, had written to Purohit on Wednesday to give his assent to the Bill.

Reacting to Purohit’s letter, Stalin, in a statement, said that a month has already passed since the Bill was passed and that another month to take a decision on it is to water down the Bill.

The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Courses in Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homeopathy on preferential basis to the students of the Government Schools Bill, 2020 providing 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students was passed by the Assembly on September 15.

Stalin also said the Group of Ministers who had met Purohit on the subject had held back from the media what the Governor had told them, while adding that Chief Minister K. Palaniswami had not responded to his suggestion to hold a joint protest to secure the state’s rights.

In this situation, Stalin said it is imperative on the part of the DMK to protest to seek that Purohit give his immediate assent to the reservation Bill while condemning the AIADMK government for not exerting pressure on the Governor on the matter.

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