SC pulls up Centre, state governments over 'mismanagement' of migrant workers
New Delhi : Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Centre and state governments to present a report on the arrangements which have been made for the stranded migrants in their jurisdiction.
The top court's notice comes barely 10 days after another court refused to intervene on a petition that wanted the government to identify the migrant workers and take care of their all needs and requirements during the lockdown. At one point, a judge on this bench remarked: “How can we (migrants) stop them from walking”.
On April 27, the top court had settled a petition over plight of the migrants claiming that there are no adequate arrangements for them while they are stuck in the places due to lockdown; the centre had then insisted that all necessary arrangements have been made to take care of the stranded migrants.
A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan on Tuesday said it was taking suo motu note of media reports and the many representations that they had received about the plight of migrants. In its preliminary remarks recorded in the order, the bench said the central and state governments should immediately provide adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters “free of costs”.
As the bench, also comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah, gave governments time till Thursday to come up with their response, it underscored that the government and the states had taken measures “yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses”.
“We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation,” the bench said in its two-page order.
Media reports, the order said, had been “continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers” walking on-foot and cycles from long distances.
“They have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on-foot, cycles or other modes of transport,” the Supreme Court said, holding that “this section of the society needs succour and help” by the governments concerned.