In a suo moto case taken on the crisis of migrant workers amid lockdown, the Supreme Court has passed certain directions stating that stranded migrants must be identified and transported back to native places within 15 days by all States and UTs.
The Supreme Court passed the following directions in the case of stranded migrants:
- Consideration to the withdrawal of all cases filed against migrants under Disaster Management Act for lockdown violations, attempting to walk to native places, crowding at stations etc must be looked by the State.
- The railways should provide trains within 24 hours in view of demand of Shramik trains.
- All schemes to migrant workers should be provided and establishment of help desk to help migrants to avail employment opportunities must be created.
- A list for identification of migrant workers in a streamlined manner be prepared and mapping of Employment relief be carried out for migrants.
- To find a way back for return travel, if they want to, counselling centres must be established for the same.
The case has been listed to be heard on July 8, to take further stock of progress,
After hearing the Centre, State and few intervenors, the bench observed on June 5, that grant of 15 days’ time to authorities to transport stranded migrants to their native places has been provided.
“What we propose to do is that we will give you(Centre) & the states 15 days’ time to transport all migrants. All states will have to bring on record how they will provide employment and other kinds of relief. There should be registration of the migrants“observed the bench.
Free travel and availability of food and water for travelling stranded migrants must be ensured, the directions posed on 29 May.
The Supreme Court on May 26 took suo moto cognizance of the migrant’s crisis, which had been ongoing since the announcement of country-wide lockdown on March 24.
“Inadequacies and certain lapses” in the measures taken by the governments for stranded migrants welfare were figured out by the Court.
“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”the bench said.
A group of 20 leading advocates had submitted a representation before the CJI, which complained about the Court’s passivity in the issue that resulted in the executive going unchecked amidst a grave humanitarian crisis. The Court showed “excessive deference” to the executive, by showing unwillingness to question the Central Government’s “patently false” claims, said the group.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and other senior advocates, had also been vocal in criticizing the apex court for its inaction on the migrant’s issue.