Migrant crisis: Lapses on part of Centre and states, says Supreme Court

Migrant workers at a camp set up by Uttar Pradesh government, in Gautam Buddh Nagar. File Photo: PTI
Taking cognizance of the miseries of migrant workers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” by the Centre and the states, and asked them to provide transport, food and shelter immediately free of cost.

Referring to various media reports showing the “unfortunate and miserable conditions” of migrant labourers walking on foot and cycling long distances after the lockdown, the top court issued notices to the Centre, the states and Union territories and sought their replies by May 28.

Although the Centre and the states have taken measures to provide relief to the migrants, the court said there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses”. Effective concentrated efforts are now required to redeem the situation, it added.

“The adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of costs,” said the court which took the suo motu cognizance of the situation.

On payment of full wages during lockdown

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to “treat with urgency” the issues raised in the petitions challenging the home ministry’s March 29 notification asking private establishments to pay full wages to workers during the Covid-19 lockdown, saying lot of people are affected by it.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, conducting hearing through videoconferencing, asked the government to file its response on a batch of petitions and posted the matter for hearing after a week. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and M R Shah, that the Centre has issued a new notification on May 17 which supersedes the March 29 MHA order.   

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