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Intervenors Write To CJI Seeking Urgent Listing Of Application In Suo Moto Migrants Crisis Case

Radhika Roy
10 May 2021 12:28 PM GMT
Intervenors Write To CJI Seeking Urgent Listing Of Application In Suo Moto Migrants Crisis Case
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Activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar have penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India seeking an urgent listing of their Intervention Application in the Suo Moto case pertaining to migrant workers pending before the Supreme Court.The Intervenors in the matter state that as the whole country is in the "grip of an immense humanitarian crisis of healthcare...

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Activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar have penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India seeking an urgent listing of their Intervention Application in the Suo Moto case pertaining to migrant workers pending before the Supreme Court.

The Intervenors in the matter state that as the whole country is in the "grip of an immense humanitarian crisis of healthcare access, oxygen, vaccines, medicines, ambulance and hearse services", it is important to note the impact of the suffering on the working poor, who have already been at the receiving end of the on-going hunger crisis and job losses due to the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter submits, "We therefore felt it was urgent to raise the issues of securing food and social security for the poor, during this even more lethal second phase of the pandemic, where state governments are increasingly resorting to lockdowns. This has disrupted even the slow revival of the economy, deepened the economic recession, witnessed again the mass distress return of the migrants to their villages, and all of this will only further aggravate the intense humanitarian crisis that the country is enduring, probably the worst in most of our lifetimes after Partition".

It is further elucidated that several requests were made to mention the urgency of the IA through Advocate Prashant Bhushan and the Intervenors were informed that the Application was under process. However, on speaking to officials from the Registry, it was found that the petition would not be listed before July.

In light of the above, the Intervenors have written the instant letter to the CJI to "underline how urgent it is for this matter to be kindly heard without any delay, so that the government is directed to take all the steps necessary to help mitigate the on-going humanitarian crisis during the second wave of the pandemic".

The letter contends that the petition urges for a series of immediate steps be taken, such as the distribution of free rations, payment of minimum wages as cash transfers and appropriate transport facilities for migrant workers. It also notes that a few relief measures that had been put in place by the government last year during the lockdown, have not been revived in 2021.

"As responsible citizens, we write this open letter as a humble appeal to list the case with our intervention for an early hearing without any delay, to prevent a lot of the hardship and suffering currently being faced by the vulnerable and marginalized communities".

The letter has been written in reference to an Application for Directions filed by the aforementioned Intervenors in the suo moto case In Re: Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers.

Apart from a host of suggestions to ease the trouble of migrant works in wake of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Application prays for directions to the Union of India to resume its scheme of providing dry rations under the Atma Nirbhar scheme, or any other scheme designed for that purpose, to all 8 crore migrant labourers/stranded or needy persons who are not covered under the National Food Security Act or State PDS cards until the Disaster Management Act is in force by issuance of COVID ration cards.

Further, directions are sought to the Centre and States to provide free cooked food through networks of community kitchens, hunger relief and feeding centres, especially at places where distressed migrant workers are congregating, as well as to furnish details of social and food security schemes put in place and plans formulated under DMA.

The Application also seeks directions to jointly and severally ensure cash transfers equivalent to the notified minimum wage of different States to all migrant workers for the period that economic activity is adversely impacted due to lockdowns/restrictions. Transport by buses and rails at nominal fare while ensuring adherence of COVID protocols to migrants across the country who wish to return to their hometowns is also sought.


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