The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court order for free condoms

New Delhi, Dec. 6 (PTI): Delhi High Court has asked the authorities to resume the supply of condoms to sex workers in the capital’s redlight area following a petition alleging that it was stopped for want of utilisation certificates.

Taking cognisance of a public interest litigation by the Bhartiya Patita Udhar Sabha, a bench of acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice A.K. Sikri issued notices to the Centre, the Delhi government and the Delhi State AIDS Control Society.

In its interim directive, the bench said the supply of condoms to the capital’s G.B. Road redlight area should be resumed immediately.

The court asked all the three respondents to submit replies within four weeks.

The Sabha’s counsel said about 10 boxes of condoms were supplied by the government free of cost to the brothels on G.B. Road till June but it was stopped on the ground that no utilisation certificates were being given.

As the use of condoms had been made compulsory for men visiting redlight areas as a shield against HIV/AIDS, the authorities were bound to maintain the supply, the counsel said.

He also alleged that though about 30 boxes of condoms were required every month in the capital’s redlight district, if its use was compulsory, only 10 to 12 boxes were being provided till June.

The Sabha, which claims to be working for protection of the sex workers’ rights, development of their children and other destitute women, said the Delhi State AIDS Control Society should work on making the sex workers aware of the dreaded disease and the need for preventives.

Instead of fulfilling its obligations, the society demanded utilisation certificates from the Sabha, the PIL said.

“Since certificates could not be provided by the sex workers, it was not possible to furnish them,” said the petitioners’ counsel.

“In the face of rapid spread of HIV infection and AIDS in the country and unprotected sex proving to be the main cause, the reluctance and unwillingness of the Society to take prompt action in this direction was a matter of serious concern,” the petitioner said.

Describing it as a “very serious issue”, the Sabha claimed that the AIDS control society had no funds constraints.

Considering the grim situation and the lack of awareness about effective protective measures against AIDS, various agencies in the country and abroad had contributed funds but they are not being utilised, it alleged.

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