Migrant Workers Not To Be Charged For Train, Bus Journey, Says SC, Orders States And Railways To Provide Food
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India, 27 May 2020 12:56 PM GMT | Updated 28 May 2020 11:28 AM GMTcheck update history
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The apex court directed the states and UTs to shelter all the migrants who are found walking on the road, along with other facilities.
Stepping up to rescue migrant workers who were stranded across states amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that migrant workers won't be charged for their journeys back home, adding the bus and train fares will be shared by the states.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah also said that states, UTs and railways will provide food and water to the migrant workers during the journey.
"The state shall oversee the registration of migrants and ensure they board the transport as early as possible," the interim directions of the court read.
The apex court also directed the states and UTs to shelter all the migrants who are found walking on the road, along with other facilities.
The interim directions also called for necessary details to be put on record, including number of migrants awaiting transportation, and mechanism for registrations and identifications. The bench said that the railways shall provide trains to the states as and when required by them.
The court has served a 'dasti' notice and the replies for the same are to be filed by June 5.
Earlier, the court questioned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, over the payment of travel fare of stranded migrant workers.
"What is the normal time? If a migrant is identified, there must be some certainty that he will be shifted out within one week or ten days at most? What is that time? There have been instances where one state sends migrants but at the border another State says we are not accepting the migrants. We need a policy on this," the bench told Mehta as reported by the PTI.
The SC had earlier on Tuesday took cognizance of the miseries of migrant workers after observing that there have been lapses on the part of the central as well as various state governments in handling such cases.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah issued notices to the Centre, state governments and administrations of union territories, seeking their response on steps taken to address the miseries of migrant workers.
A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan on Tuesday said that it was taking suo motu cognizance of media reports highlighting the plight of migrants. The bench also said that the government and the states had taken measures "yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses".
The order pointed to how the media reports had been "continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers" walking on-foot and cycles from long distances.
"They 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 apex court said, holding that "this section of the society needs succour and help" by the governments concerned.
The top court's order comes a few days after another bench refused to entertain a petition that demanded immediate relief for stranded workers. The SC bench also remarked: "How can we (migrants) stop them from walking".
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