SC takes suo motu cognizance of miseries of migrant labourers

TheSupreme Court of India on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers who are stranded in different parts of the country post announcement of the nationwide lockdown on March 24.

It asked the Centre to bring to its notice all measures and steps taken by the Government of India and to be taken in this regard.

While issuing notice to the Central Government, the State Governments and Union Territories, a three-judge bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah observed:

“The newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortuanate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances. They have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on-foot, cycles or other modes of transport.

The bench added “In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succor and help by the concerned Governments especially steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State Governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend helping hand to these migrant labourers”.

The court also took note of the several letters and representations it received from different sections of society highlighting the problem of migrant labourers.

“The crisis of migrant labourers are even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and State borders. The adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of costs”, the bench said.

 Further, the court noted, “although the Government of India and the State Governments have taken measures yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation”.

Read the Order here:


 

First published in The Leaflet.