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SC Seeks Centre's Response On Movement Of Migrant Workers Heading Home During Lockdown [Read Order]

Sanya Talwar
27 April 2020 8:48 AM GMT
SC Seeks Centres Response On Movement Of Migrant Workers Heading Home During Lockdown [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response regarding the movement of migrant workers wishing to head back home from cities and a proposal, thereto, if any, in this regard.The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul & B.R. Gavai directed the Centre to filed its response as aforementioned within a week to a PIL seeking enforcement of the Fundamental Right...

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The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response regarding the movement of migrant workers wishing to head back home from cities and a proposal, thereto, if any, in this regard.

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul & B.R. Gavai directed the Centre to filed its response as aforementioned within a week to a PIL seeking  enforcement of the Fundamental Right to Life of stranded migrant workers across the country who have been left in dire straits owing to the coronavirus induced lockdown. The PIL inter alia, also sought directions to the Centre and the state to arrenge for their safe travel back to their hometowns & villages.

Advocate prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner(s) highlited the plight of migrant workers and argued that the Government was not doing much in order to safeguard their interests.

"The reports by "the Hindu" say 96% of them are not getting wages, they have very less food. The govt is not enforcing the fundamental rights of people and I am pleading this court to enforce their fundamental rights" Bhushan stated.

Urging for the court's intervention in the issue currently affecting lakhs of migrant workers across the coutry, Bhushan insisted that "the Supreme Court, being an institution created by the Constitution" must protect this class of citizens.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Government was in fact, doing its level best in order to safeguard fundamental rights of every citizen and that both Central & State Governments were engaged in mindful consultations to tackle this issue. SG further added that Mr. Bhushan "was not the only one concerned about rights of people in the country".

Furthermore, the SG also added that there was in fact no necessity of migration of workers back to their native lands as their daily needs shall be taken care of wherever they will be along with their families, regardless of where they might be situated.

In light of this, the Solicitor General further assured the bench that the Government was taking al necessary steps in this regard and also added that perpetuating migrantios from cities to villages "shall destroy the very purpose of preventive measures as there were very high chances of people in rural areas being infected".

Additionally, SG expressed his discontent over  filing of this specific PIL and remarked that "the job of looking after and worrying about its citizens was in fact the job of the Government and not of the petitioner"

The petition filed by Mr. Jagdeep S. Chhokar, former Dean, IIM-Ahmedabad and Mr. Gaurav Jain, Advocate, prays that in in view of the extension of the lockdown, necessary transport services be provided to the workers stranded in different states who wished to return to home.

Filed on behalf of Advocate Prashant Bhushan,  the plea avers that the migrant workers, who are amongst the worst affected category of people due to the ongoing-lockdown, must be allowed to go back to their homes after being tested for COVID-19.

"There have been cases of the migrant workers being harassed by the local residents and even beaten "Although the national lockdown has been necessitated because of the unprecedented pandemic of COVID- '19 and its imposition is much needed", the plea reads.

Further, the plea avers that not providing an opportunity to the workers to head back to their native lands attacked the very root of "the fundamental right of the migrant workers enshrined under Article 19(1)(d) [right to move freely throughout the territory of lndialand Article 19(1 )(e) of the Constitution of lndia [right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of lndia]"

In this backdrop, it contends that,

"This cannot be suspended for an indefinite period forcing these migrant workers to stay away from their families and living in unpredictable and arduous conditions, as the same is an unreasonable restriction beyond what is envisaged under Article 19(5) of the Constitution of lndia", iterates the plea.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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