A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Justices DVSS Somayajulu and Lalitha Kanneganti said that the workers, who move to the cities to earn a livelihood and ensure that all of us live in comfort, are in distress today.
It is pertinent that Court takes certain steps to ensure that the pain and suffering of these labour on the move amid lockdown is alleviated.
“If at this stage, this Court does not react and pass these orders, this Court would be falling in its role as a protector and alleviator of suffering. Their pain has to be alleviated at this stage. (sic)”
The scope of Article 21 which guaranteed Right to life with dignity under the Constitution of India is an ever-expanding one and would bring under its ambit the present situation of the migrant workers who have resorted to dire means to return to their homes, the Court said.
The court highlighting workers said,
“They deserve more help particularly when they are trekking back with their heads high instead of living at someone’s mercy.”
The Court, keeping in view all the steps statedly taken by the Centre and State, has passed directions for some supplemental measures that must be taken “on priority and with immediate effect.”
As regards Medical facilities, the Court said that the checkposts that are established on the Highways in the State must also have sufficient stock of food, good drinking water, oral dehydration salts and glucose packets, which should be supplied to the workers who are walking.
In addition to the volunteers who are distributing food to the workers on the move in their individual capacity, the State should also ensure that adequate arrangement for food is made. It added,
“State Government must also seek help from the voluntary organisations and also from the companies/firms etc., as part of their CSR activity to provide food free of cost to these migrants. The activities of all the interested public, voluntary organisations etc., for providing food should be streamlined in such a manner that the food that is prepared actually reaches the migrant labour, who are moving on the road.”
The Court has also passed directions for ensuring that the pamphlets are printed in Hindi and Telugu to inform the migrant workers of the nearest shelter homes and that personnel are deployed to ensure that safety measures like social distancing norms are followed.
The Court also added that efforts must be taken by the State to convince the workers to stop walking and take the transportation being provided by the State Government.
“These interim measures are being suggested till all the migrant labour, who are walking through are picked up and transported by the State… The idea behind this interim order is only to supplement the efforts being made till the migration of labour is stopped.”
Read order here: