After the Supreme Court last Tuesday took Suo Motu cognisance of the miseries of migrant labourers stranded across the country amidst the COVID lockdown, activists Anjali Bharadwaj and Harsh Mander, besides Jagdeep S. Chhokar, former Dean, IIM-Ahmedabad have prayed for permission to assist the Court in the matter.Vide their intervention application, it is urged that "the applicants would like to assist the court by placing on record" the PILs previously filed by them "with regard to the plight of migrant workers in the aftermath of the country wide lockdown for which no prior intimation was given and which created panic across the country and led to an instantaneous loss of jobs and wages of millions for migrant workers". The first petition, on behalf of Bharadwaj and Mander, had sought directions to the Central and the State governments to jointly and severally ensure payments of wages/ minimum wages to all the migrant workers whether employed by other establishments, contractors or self-employed, as they are unable to work and earn wages, during the period of the lockdown. The second, by Chhokar, sought directions for the safe return of all migrant workers to their home towns without any payment for transport and with adequate food for the duration of their journey.
"Are these people who are going to be transported, are being asked to shell out any money at any stage? With food surplus available with the FCI, is food being supplied to them while they wait for being transported back?", the bench asked.
"How much time do you need to shift the migrants to where they want to go? What will be monitoring mechanism to ensure that food and basic necessities are taken care of?, the bench continued.
Click here to download the Intervention Application