The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the states to comply with its earlier order on rehabilitating sex workers, failing which it will summon the chief secretaries of the errant states and seek an explanation.
The apex court by its February 14 directions had asked the central and state governments to prepare schemes for giving technical and vocational training to sex workers and sexually abused women to make them financially independent.
An apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said: ‘We will issue notice to the chief secretaries and home secretaries of non-compliant states as to why contempt notice should not be issued to them.’
‘If you don’t comply, we will have the chief secretaries (of non-complying states) present in the court. We will catch hold of them by their necks,’ Justice Katju said.
The court was told that only West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh had filed affidavits listing the steps they has initiated for the rehabilitation of the sex workers and sexually abused women.
Haryana, Assam, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Manipur, Delhi, Chandigarh and Andhra Pradesh have sought additional time to file their affidavits.
The court granted them four weeks time.
The bench took serious view of the states that had neither responded nor made their counsels appear before it. The court was also not satisfied with the central government’s affidavit, and directed it to file a fresh one in four weeks.
The court said that it was unfortunate that women were forced to work as prostitutes.
‘Sex workers are also human beings. They become sex workers not out enjoyment but out of (needs of the) stomach.
‘No one sells their body for pleasure. It is out of poverty,’ Justice Katju said.
He also advised the counsels present in court to read stories by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay on the subject.
He said that Chattopadhyay’s stories portray some sex workers as people of very high character who sacrificed everything for others.
The court also appointed senior counsels Jayant Bhushan and Pradeep Ghosh as amicus curiae (friend of the court). Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium is already assisting the court as amicus curiae.
The matter will come up for hearing July 19, 2011.