SC takes suo motu cognisance of migrants' miseries

Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance of migrant workers' miseries

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, States

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (May 26) took a Suo Motu cognisance of problems and miseries faced by the migrant workers. It said that they must be provided adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters free of costs by the Centre and States.

After the lockdown imposed across the country since March 25, migrant labourers continued to suffer due to loss of jobs and suspension of transport. They remained stranded in several states and hundreds of them walked back to their native villages. 

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah issued notice to the Centre and States, asking them to explain the all the steps and measures taken to improve the situation on Thursday.

"In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succour and help by the concerned governments especially steps need to be taken by the government of India, state governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend helping hand to these migrant labourers," the bench said.

Acting on news reports and letters received from different sections of the society, the court said, "The crises of migrant labourers is even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and State borders."

The court noted media reports showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances.

"Although the Union and the state governments have 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.

The bench asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to assist the court.

Several PILs filed earlier failed to elicit effective directions to the Centre and states, resulting into criticism of the Supreme Court, by retired judges, lawyers and activists.

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