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Bombay HC directs state to file detailed report on facilities for migrants waiting to leave through bus or train

The Court said, “congregation of migrant workers, if allowed, would run counter to the object, for which the Lockdown has been imposed.”

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Published: May 30, 2020 12:53:59 pm
coronavirus india lockdown,migrant labourers in train, migrant labourers stuck, indian express Migrants wait to board a train at the railway station. Express Photo by Javed Raja

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra Government to file a report indicating how plight of migrant workers, who have been assembling at the railway stations or bus stands in Mumbai and nearby areas are being addressed. The court observed that congregation of migrant workers outside railway stations would run counter to the object of COVID-19 lockdown.

The Court said, “such congregation, if allowed, would run counter to the object, for which the Lockdown has been imposed.”

The Court directed the state to include in its reply an entire procedure of how a migrant worker is required to be eligible for leaving the state, likely duration within which the worker can board train or bus, nature of shelter provided during the waiting period and provisions made available for sustenance.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice K K Tated on Friday heard through video conference plea by Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) seeking reliefs for migrants availing Shramik special trains and buses to reach their homes in other states during the lockdown.

Senior Counsel Gayatri Singh and advocates Kranti LC and Ronita Bhattacharya Bector for petitioner union submitted that migrant workers who have applied for leaving the state through Shramik special trains have been left in dark about status of their applications and they have made to live in cramped and unhygienic shelters without food and other essentials until they can board the trains or buses to leave for native places.

Responding to the plea, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for the central government submitted that the Supreme Court is seized of migrant workers plea and detailed order was passed on May 28 taking care of plight of such migrant workers.

The bench perused May 28 Supreme Court order and noted that the top court had issued directions to all states for simplifying and speeding up registration process for migrant workers and to provide them help desk for the same at the places where they are stranded. The supreme court will hear the plea next on June 5.

Observing this, the bench led by Chief Justice Datta said, “At this stage, neither are we empowered nor do we wish to make any order contrary to the spirit of the order of the Supreme Court. However, having regard to the peculiar local conditions, we consider it fit and proper to call upon the State to file a report.”

The Court directed the state government to file a detailed report on procedure for migrant workers to be eligible to leave the state and facilities provided to them in Mumbai and nearby areas during the waiting period and posted further hearing on June 2.

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