COVID 19 | Bom HC | State Govt. to ensure that no person should go hungry and basic necessities reach individuals including the ones in remote areas

Bombay High Court: A. A. Sayed, J. addressed issues pertaining to migrant labourers, homeless and other marginalised communities in the city of Mumbai pursuant to COVID-19 pandemic and in particular relating to making water, food and healthcare facilities available to them.

B V Samant, AGP submitted that State Government has set up relief/shelter camps and about 7.5 lakh migrant labourers have been accommodated and along with that they are being provided 3 meals a day.

In each district a common helpline has been set up. Various advisories have been issued by Centre and State Government that being followed by authorities.

Senior Counsel, Gayatri Singh for the petitioners submitted that though various advisories have been issued by Centre and State Government and there are several schemes in place, there is no implementation of the same by State authorities and the benefits pursuant to them are not reaching the migrant labourers and homeless persons.

No proper response to the help-lines and there are several areas where there is no water, food, medicines and healthcare, and toilet facilities made available.

Court’s Decision

Bench stated that the issues pertain to implementation of the advisories and schemes of Centre and State Government and as regards the benefits being made available to all the migrants and the marginalised sections of community.

There is a scheme in place for victims of disasters through the Legal Services Authorities to ensure immediate help to the victims of disaster by Government and Non-Government Agencies. Under the said scheme, the State Legal Services Authorities are required to co- ordinate the implementation of the plan of action prepared by the Disaster Management Authorities and supervise the transferring victims of disaster to shelters and the distribution of food, drinking water, medicines and healthcare, to such victims.

Thus, District Legal Services Authorities can play an effective role by co-ordinating the activities of the State Government authorities.

Hence, endeavour of the State Government must be that no victims go hungry and the food/food-grains reach all victims (even in remote areas), and drinking water, medicines, healthcare and hygienic toilette facilities are provided to them. [Sarva Hara Jan Andolan v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 520, decided on 08-04-2020]

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