The Karnataka High Court has rejected a petition filed by an agriculturist seeking directions to the state government to screen the migrant labourers who are kept in shelter homes or their temporary dwelling and if tested negative for Coronavirus, then drop them to their homes for free, using the State/Central government transport facility.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice B V Nagarathna said "Grant of such a prayer will run completely contrary to the order dated 29th March 2020 of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India."
As per the order of March 29, the Union government invoking their powers under section 10 (2) (I) of the Disaster Management Act, directed all the states to provide temporary shelters, food and basic needs to migrant labourers and if such migrant labourer has moved out to reach their home towns they shall be quarantined for 14 days.
The bench noted that the petitioner had not challenged the Union Government order which enjoins the State Governments and the Union Territory Governments to ensure that the migrants who have moved out to reach their home states/hometowns must be kept in the nearest shelters with quarantine facilities.
The plea claimed that it is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and Section 61 of the Disaster Management Act by the State and Central government in not providing transport to the migrant workers to travel back home. Moreover, there is no science in locking them down even though they are asymptomatic of COVID-19.
Further, petitioner relied upon the Standard Operating System issued by the Central Government on 19th April 2020 for movement of the stranded labour which provides that in case of a group of migrants who wish to return to their places of work within the State where they are presently located, they should be screened and those who are asymptomatic should be transported to their respective places of work.