The Centre told the Supreme Court Monday that the mass movement of migrants during the lockdown has to be stopped, and that it will be detailing the steps taken in a status report to the court.
The bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao, turning to a video-conference to hear two petitions which sought the court’s intervention in the matter, observed that fear and panic were proving to be a bigger problem than the coronavirus itself.
The bench said it will hear what the government is doing on the mass movement of migrant workers. It adjourned the hearing by a day after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre will file a status report on the steps taken.
The judges said they do not want to create more confusion by issuing directions on measures which the government is already taking to deal with the matter.
The two PILs were filed by advocates Alakh Alok Srivastava and Rashmi Bansal.
Srivastava’s plea sought food, water, shelter, transport and medical aid for migrant workers and their families who have taken the road to walk to their villages. Responding to it, Mehta said the Centre and states have taken certain steps and were taking more. He said he will file an affidavit in this regard.
Srivastava contended that there was lack of coordination between states in dealing with the situation.
The CJI said the court did not want to create confusion by dealing with what the government is already handling. He asked the petitioner to wait for the report which the Solicitor General has promised to file.
The bench said some of the prayers of the petitioner seem to have been addressed already by the authorities.
Bansal’s petition sought medical and safety measures for the migrant workers. The petitioner suggested that there could be sprinkling of sanitising material on these groups in the interest of their health and safety.
The petitioner also suggested the use of counsellors for people trying to return home in panic.
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