The People’s Movement approach SC: Interim Orders Issued on Migrant Workers Return

On 28th May 2020, the Supreme Court heard the issues related to the migrant workers. Along with the matters take up suo moto, many interventions filed including a petition filed under Article 32 by Ms Medha Patkar.

The court issued an interim direction after hearing the Solicitor General, counsel for states as well as counsel for various parties and interveners.

Supreme Court directs Simplified & Time-bound Registration Process, no collection of travel fare from Workers and the food, water and other facilities provided by the government.

National Alliance of People’s Movement calls for immediate implementation of the order to address the massive distress of Migrant workers.

Some of the key operative aspects of the Orders of the Apex Court are:

· Free travel for all migrant workers. The cost is to be borne by the states.

· Stranded migrant workers will be provided free food by the states in which they are stranded.

· Food and water must be provided to those in transit, both in buses and trains. The States of the Railways must bear this cost.

·States must simplify and speed up the process of registration of migrant workers and set up a helpdesk for the same.

· Information about modes of transport should be fully publicized and migrants should be put on a train/ bus at the earliest.

· Food, water and transport should be provided for those walking on roads/highways immediately by the concerned States/ UTs.

· The receiving state must provide transport, health screenings and other facilities to returning migrants free of cost.

Apart from these issues, the apex court also agreed to hear other connected matters, including the issues of the effect of Covid Lockdown on poor and downtrodden after reaching their destination. Within a week, the replies must be filed by the Union and the state government.

Senior Advocate Mr Sanjay Parikh appeared in the Petition filed by Ms Medha Patkar and other social activists. Many other senior counsels including Adv Indira Jaising, Adv Kapil Sibal, Adv Colin Gonsalves, and Adv Abhishek Manu Singhvi also appeared and brought important matters to the attention of the court.

In this case, the next date of the hearing will be held on 5th June 2020.