April 17, 2020 10:53:05 pm
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Friday directed the Haryana government to immediately examine and provide food, shelter and any other necessary assistance to migrant labourers or the persons who approach the nodal officers personally or on the helpline numbers.
However, the court also noted that the State has and is taking steps to provide the necessary relief to those in need.
The order was passed by a division bench on a petition seeking relief for 4,314 migrant labourers in Panipat district. Additional Advocate General Deepak Balyan told the court that any person in need of assistance can approach the authorities and their grievances will be considered in accordance with the directions issued by the State government.
The Panipat DC, Hema Sharma, in a reply earlier told the court that 29,533 persons had registered themselves through the helpline number 1100 (for registration of unorganized labour) for getting Rs. 1,000 financial help per week for one month. However, only 13,182 persons were found eligible for availing the benefit. A total of 10 shelter homes have also been established in the district and 772 persons were putting up there till morning of Friday, the reply said, adding, the landlords have also been directed to not demand any rent from the labourers working in various units or companies and offices for a period of at least one month.
Segregate new inmates for 14 days
The High Court Friday also directed the Superintendent of New District Jail, Nabha to ensure that whenever any new inmate is admitted to jail, they are medically examined and isolated from other inmates for a period of at least 14 days to rule out any chance of spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within jail premises.
The order came while dismissing a plea for interim bail filed by three men accused of causing Rs. 20 crore loss to the State exchequer by evading GST payment. While the Punjab government submitted that jails no more are congested and the accused cannot be released due to the huge amount involved in the case, Justice Gruvinder Singh Gill, in the order, also noted that Supreme Court has already clarified that the prisoners are not to be compulsorily released, and ruled that the decision to release them to restrict transmission of coronavirus by decongestion of prisoners, cannot be treated as a windfall for all the prisoners even when there is no imminent threat within the jail prisoners.
“Since the Nabha Jail already stands decongested and there is no reported case of COVID-19 within the premises of jail, therefore keeping in view the nature and gravity of offence and the amount involved, this court deems it appropriate to grant interim bail to the petitioner,” reads the order.
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