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Plea In SC Seeks Direction To Shift Moving Stranded Migrants To Nearest Shelter Homes, And Provide Food, Medicine Etc

Nilashish Chaudhary
20 April 2020 12:01 PM GMT
Plea In SC Seeks Direction To Shift Moving Stranded Migrants To Nearest Shelter Homes, And Provide Food, Medicine Etc
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Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava has filed an application in his own plea before the Supreme Court seeking urgent interim directions to ensure the rights of migrant workers are safeguarded and basic essentials such as food, water, shelter and medical aid are provided to them during the nationwide lockdown.Highlighting the Apex Court's order in his original plea, from March 31 2020, which...

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Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava has filed an application in his own plea before the Supreme Court seeking urgent interim directions to ensure the rights of migrant workers are safeguarded and basic essentials such as food, water, shelter and medical aid are provided to them during the nationwide lockdown.

Highlighting the Apex Court's order in his original plea, from March 31 2020, which directed authorities and police across State lines to take necessary steps ensuring welfare activities for migrant workers, the applicant has expressed his concern over media reports which suggest that the same is not being implemented by some State Governments in letter and spirit. Emphasising this, he seeks orders directing all District Magistrates (DMs) across the country to conduct daily inspections of all shelter homes, camps and such facilities in their respective districts to ensure that essential supplies are being adequately provided to migrant workers.

Additionally, he apprises the Court of reports which suggest that migrant workers have again started attempting to walk home, pursuant to the extension of the lockdown, which was ordered on April 15. Apropos this, it has been further prayed that DMs immediately identify those people in their district who are stranded or attempting to move, and immediately have them shifted to the nearest facility which will provide sufficient food, water and medical aid to them.

Furthermore the applicant informs the Court of a reported decision by the Maharashtra government, from April 19 2020, to allow 1.31 lakh sugarcane workers to move within the State towards their native villages. Though it is intra-state, contends Srivastava, the decision will set a bad precedent and no such permission ought to be given.

"Such a large scale migration, although intra-state, defeats the purpose of the present Lockdown and also violates the various directions issued by the Respondent UOI. Furthermore, it may amount to a bad precedent, as it may instill feeling of resentment in the minds of other stranded migrant labourers of other states, who are unable to go to their native villages during Lockdown."

Srivastava further submits that there are crores of such workers stranded across the country and to permit them to move would require mass testing. Given the huge shortage of testing kits, and the requirement for these kits to be wisely used towards genuine patients and suspects, it would be better for the workers to remain in shelter homes. On the other hand, he cautions, it is extremely risky to allow the workers to migrate back to their villages without being tested as it could lead to an uncontrollable and exponential rise in COVID-19 cases. Thus it is urged that the Court may not permit any mass migration, inter-state or intra-state, till the lockdown continues.

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