[Breaking] Transport Stranded Migrants To Native Places Within 15 Days; Consider Withdrawing Cases Taken Against Them For Lockdown Violations : SC [Read Order]

By - Sanya Talwar
Update: 2020-06-09 05:18 GMT
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday passed a slew of directions in the suo moto case taken on the crisis of migrant workers during lockdown. They are :

  1. All States and UTs to identify stranded migrants and transport them back to native places within 15 days.
  2. States to consider withdrawal of all cases filed against migrants under Disaster Management Act for lockdown violations, for attempting to walk to native places, crowding at stations etc
  3. In event of demand of Shramiktrains, the railways shall provide trains within 24 hours.
  4. Provide all schemes to migrant workers and publicise them. Help desks to be established to help migrants to avail employment opportunities.
  5. Centre and states to prepare a list for identification of migrant workers in a streamlined manner.
  6. Employment relief to be mapped out and skill-mapping to be carried out for migrants.
  7. Counselling centres to be established to find a way back for return travel, if they want to.

The case will be further listed on July 8 to take further stock of progress.

On June 5, before reserving orders after hearing Centre, State and few intervenors, the bench had observed that it was mulling to grant 15 days time to authorities to transport migrants to their native places.

"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", the bench had observed then.

On May 29, the bench had passed a slew of directions to ensure free travel for migrants, and availability of food and water for travelling migrants.

It was on May 26 that the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the migrants crisis, which had been on going since the announcement of country-wide lockdown on March 24. The Court said that there were "inadequacies and certain lapses" in the measures taken by the governments for migrants welfare.

"We take suo motu 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.

Shortly before that, a group of 20 leading advocates had submitted a representation before the CJI, complaining that the Court's passivity in the issue resulted in the executive going unchecked amidst a grave humanitarian crisis. They said that the Court was showing "excessive deference" to the executive, by showing unwillingness to question the Central Government's "patently false" claims.

Several former judges, and senior advocates, including Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, have been vocal in criticizing the top court for its inaction on the migrants issue.

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[Read Order]

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