Taking note of the miseries of stranded migrants across the country, the Supreme Court today passed a slew of significant directions.
- No fare either by train or bus shall be charged for migrant workers. Railway fare to be shared by states.
- Migrant workers shall be provided food by the concerned state and UT at places to be publicized & notified for the period they are waiting for their turn to board a train or a bus.
- During train journey, originating states should provide meal & water.
- Railways should provide meal and water to migrant workers. Food and water to also be provided in buses.
- State shall oversee the registration of migrants & ensure that after registration, they are made to board transport as early as possible.
- Those migrant workers found walking on the roads, immediately be taken to shelters & provided food and all facilities.
The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah has also directed the Centre to place on record information regarding number of migrants awaiting transportation to native places, plan for transportation, mechanism of registration and other requisite details.
The bench with regards migrants ordered, “As and when the state governments put in a request for trains, railways has to provide them.”
It was on May 26 that the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the migrants crisis on May 26. While observing that there were “inadequacies and certain lapses” in the measures taken by the governments for migrants welfare, the court stated,
“We take suomotu cognisance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers who had been stranded in different parts of the country. The newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of the migrant labourers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances.”
Shortly before that, a group of 20 leading advocates submitted a representation before the CJI, complaining that the Court’s passivity in the issue resulted in the executive going unchecked duringthe grave humanitarian crisis. They said that the Court was showing “excessive deference” to the executive, by not questioning the Central Government’s “patently false” claims.
Several former judges, and senior advocates, including Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, have been criticizing the top court for its inaction on the migrants issue.
The matter will next be taken up on June 5.