Taking suo motu cognizance of “problems and miseries of migrant labourers” stranded in different parts of the country and “inadequacies and certain lapses” in efforts by the Centre and States, the Supreme Court Tuesday sought their responses, saying it will hear the matter again Thursday.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah said it was “of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation”.
“We, thus, issue notice to the Union of India and all States/ Union Territories to submit their responses looking into the urgency of the matter. We direct the suo motu petition to be taken up day-after-tomorrow and we request the learned Solicitor General to assist the Court and by the next date of hearing bring in the notice of the Court all measures and steps taken by the Government of India and to be taken in this regard,” the bench said.
Pointing out that “the crises of migrant labourers is even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and State borders,” the judges said “adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of cost”.
The bench observed that “newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on foot and cycles from long distances”.
The migrants “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 bench said.
It said “in the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succour and help by the concerned Governments… steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State Governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation”.
The bench said it “has also received several letters and representations from different sections of society, highlighting the problem of migrant labourers”.
The bench asked the SC Registry to serve a copy of the order to the Solicitor General as well as the States and Union Territories through their standing counsel “today itself so that appropriate responses be brought before the Court at the earliest”.
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