COVID-19| SC takes suo motu cognisance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers; Issues notice to Centre and States/UTs

Taking suo motu cognizance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers who had been stranded in different parts of the country, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah, JJ has issued notice to the Union of India and all States / Union Territories to submit their responses by Thursday i.e. 28.05.2020, looking into the urgency of the matter.

The Court took sup motu cognizance based on, newspaper and media reports and several letters and representations it received from different sections of society highlighting the problem of migrant labourers.

The Court said that 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.

“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.”

Noticing that although the Government of India and the State Governments have taken measures yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses, the Court was of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation. It said,

“The adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be 1 provided by the Centre and State Governments free of costs.”

The Court, hence, directed the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist the Court and by the next date of hearing bring in the notice of the Court all measures and steps taken by the Government of India and to be taken in this regard.

[In re : Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers. SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) No(s). 6/2020, order dated 26.05.2020]

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