A PIL has been preferred in the Supreme Court seeking directions to local administrations and police authorities pan India to identify displaced migrant workers and equip them with basic amenities during subsistence of the national lockdown.
The plea has been moved by a lawyer Nachiketa Vajpayee and filed by Advocate Deepak Prakash. It takes into account the hardships faced by migrant workers who have found themselves in dire straits with their fundamental rights being violated across the country.
In light of this, the petitioner brings to the fore, an order passed by the Top Court on March 31 (In Alakh Alok Srivastava V. Union of India) wherein the bench took note of the "anxiety" and "fear" of the migrant workers which was required to be understood by the police and other authorities. The court had noted,
"As directed by the Union of India, they should deal with the migrants in a humane manner. Considering the situation, we are of the opinion that the State Governments/UTs should endeavour to engage volunteers along with the police to supervise the welfare activities of the migrants. We expect those concerned to appreciate the trepidation of the poor men, women & children and treat them with kindness"
It is contended by the petitioner that the aforementioned directions have not been complied with by the authorities.
"The very purpose of the said order stands defeated since thousands of distressed migrant workers have gathered at railway stations and bus stops, seeking relief from the authorities. Thousands of workers continue walking to their villages with minor children, old age persons, ladies, without food or water and are found to be violating social distancing guidelines" - Excerpt of Petition
The plea states that the instant plea is not adversarial in nature and that while all such violations are the "unintended consequences of the unprecedented National lockdown", it is still the "foremost fundamental duty to protect and safeguard the lives and well-being of its citizens".
It is emphasised that the mass movement is prevalent in the States of UP, Punjab, Haryana & Delhi "wherein currently, the situation has gone extremely out of law and order". Therefore the Petitioner has impleaded the respective State Government's as well.
Furthermore, in order to highlight the plight of migrant workers, petitioner has annexed several news reports which are "just the tip of the iceberg and provide only a small glimpse of the immense, countless, unimaginably inhuman hardships being faced by.... millions of migrant workers...." the petitioner contends.
Apropos this, it is prayed, inter alia, that the Government and concerned authorities establish hygienic accommodations by way of refugee camps or requisition schools/ other properties to "allay the exodus" of the migrant workers", provide adequate nutrition and healthcare facilities to them, set up a social monitoring committee - fully dedicated towards providing relief at the district levels throughout India.
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