COVID & Lockdown Affected Migrants- "Frame Scheme Providing Relief To Voiceless, Marginalized Sections Of Society": Delhi HC To Govt.

Update: 2021-05-05 15:24 GMT

Dealing with a writ petition filed seeking registration of all migrant workers of Delhi under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 and to provide free medicines and medical facilities to the migrant workers, the Delhi High Court on Monday (May 3) issued significant direction to the Delhi Government.The Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Asha...

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Dealing with a writ petition filed seeking registration of all migrant workers of Delhi under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 and to provide free medicines and medical facilities to the migrant workers, the Delhi High Court on Monday (May 3) issued significant direction to the Delhi Government.

The Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Asha Menon remarked,

"In view of the scale and magnitude of pandemic Covid-19, a structured response by the administration is required so that the voiceless and the marginalized sections of the society can be given proper and adequate relief."

Submissions before the Court

The Petitioner also sought directions to the Respondents to fulfil its obligations under The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and to pay monies under the income transfer scheme to all migrant workers of NCT Delhi.

He relied on the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution and submitted that the Respondents are bound to protect the welfare of the people, especially that of the working class under Article 43 of the Constitution of India.

He emphasized that the Respondents didn't formulate any plan for setting up a database of the migrant workers even after the first wave of the pandemic and therefore, have been unable to reach out to all the workers and their families.

On the other hand, the Counsel for the Delhi Government stated before the Court that to date, there was no scheme to give benefit to the workers under The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 and that there was no database to locate and identify the migrant workers in NCT Delhi.

However, he further stated that the State Government was taking various steps to ameliorate the condition of the migrant workmen as well as those working in the unorganised sector.

It was submitted by him that provisions for free shelter, food and medicare have been made and that Rs. 98,96,70,000/- have been disbursed to 2,10,684 workers

Court's direction

The Court directed that the writ petition be treated as a representation to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, who has been further directed,

"To frame a Scheme incorporating a structured response for the 'home-based worker', 'self-employed worker' and 'unorganised worker', as defined under The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008, within two weeks."

While framing the scheme, the Chief Secretary has been directed to:

  • Keep in mind the prayers sought for in the instant writ petition, including the prayer for payment of ex gratia amount to the unorganised workers and the migrant workers.
  • To ensure that the registration process under Section 10 of The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 is simplified and is implemented at the ground level.
  • To consider the feasibility of involving the elected representatives as well as the civil society at large in particular NGOs, Gurudwaras etc. who have a good track record and who have been working with the administration in the past.

The matter has been posted for further hearing on May 20.

Case title - Abhijeet Kumar Pandey v. Union of India and Anr.

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