‘How Migrants Will Survive With No Money Or Work? You Have To Consider Harsh Realities’ : Supreme Court Tells Centre

first_imgTop Stories’How Migrants Will Survive With No Money Or Work? You Have To Consider Harsh Realities’ : Supreme Court Tells Centre Radhika Roy12 May 2021 11:04 PMShare This – xExpressing concerns about the plight of migrant workers during the lockdown announced by various states, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will pass orders today itself to ensure food security and cheaper transport options for migrant workers.”How migrants will survive with no money or work?Some sustenance must be provided for the time being. You have to consider the harsh realities”, the bench told the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who was opposing the court’s intervention in the matter now.Advertisement The bench said that it will pass orders in relation to community kitchens and dry rations for stranded migrant workers and to stop the charging of exorbitant rates for the transport of migrants in National Capital Region. The bench also said that it will seek responses from state governments on their compliance with the directions passed by the Supreme Court last year for the relief of migrants.A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah was considering the suo moto case In Re Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers, which was taken last year to deal with the migrants crisis during the 2020 lockdown.Advertisement Today, the bench was considering an intervening application filed by Harsh Mander, Anjali Bharadwaj and Jagdeep Chokkar highlighting the problems faced by migrant workers due to the lockdowns announced by various states to deal with the second wave of COVID-19.Advocate Prashan Bhushan, appearing for the applicants, urged the bench to pass directions to extend the ‘atmanirbhar scheme’ for dry rations to migrants who do not have ration cards and to give cooked meals in places where migrants are congregating. Mr.Bhushan also prayed that directions should be issued for cash transfer to the accounts of migrants who are left with no work during lockdown.Advertisement Advertisement Mr.Bhushan highlighted that the accounted number of migrant workers in the country is 8 crorers and many of them do not have ration cards.The application was vehemently opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.”Let us fight with pandemic rather than fight with fringe elements. Unlike last lockdown where everything was closed, this year, states have ensured that it is not a lock-down like last year. By and large, industries are working, constriction activities are allowed. So migrants workers are not incentivised to go back from places where industries are open”, SG said.Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement The Solicitor told the bench that instead of issuing directions, responses should be sought from state governments.”All States are responsible. They are elected governments and alive to the situation on the ground. Instead of issuing directions, allow everyone to face facts on record”, the SG said.Justice Ashok Bhushan then said that the bench will indeed seek the responses of the state governemnts. The judge however stressed that some directions might be needed now to address the immediate problems faced by migrants.Justice Bhushan invited the Solicitor General’s attention to reports regarding private bus operators charging 4-5 times from migrant workers for their travel to native places.”Right now the scheme envisaged is not to incentivize migrants to return”, the SG replied.Justice MR Shah then said that mindset of a worker in a lockdown sitaution will be to return to his village. The judge also pointed out that many workers have gone back. “None of the petitioners have any knowledge of the ground realities. These are all petitions drafted in the comfort of their drawing rooms”, the SG Tushar Mehta said.Mr.Mehta then requested the bench to not pass any orders at present and to adjourn the case after two weeks for the resposnes of the states.The bench however said that some interim directions are necessary to ensure immediate relief to migrants. “How migrants will survive with no money or work?Some sustenance must be provided, for the time being. You have to consider the harsh realities”, Justice Bhushan told the Solicitor General.”Imediate relief required must be granted immediately…”, Justice Shah supplemented.”Any direction, that facilitate their transport….would incentiviese their transfer.. even those who don’t want to go…”, the SG reiterated his opposion. “We cannot consider from that angle…that they will be incentiviesed to go…that is all ifs and buts..”, Justice Shah responded.The bench said that its intention was to ensure affordable options of transport to those migrants who wish to return to their villages.”Whoever wants to go, should be accommodated”, Justice Bhushan said.Advocate Bhushan then interjected to say, “I am amazed that Mr. Mehta will say that a free train ride or bus journey migrants will incentivize migrants to go back. Last time he said there were no migrants on road”. The bench told Mr.Bhushan that it was not ordering free rides and that its intention was to curb the fleecing of migrants by transporters.As regards the prayer of applications to order cash-transfer for migrants, the bench said that it was a policy decision of the executive.”It is the policy of the government. We cannot issue any directions”, Justice Bhushan said.”We cannot ask states to pay this much that much…It may have a financial implication”, Justice Shah added.The bench said that the order will be uploaded by today 4 PM.TagsSupreme Court Migrants Justice Ashok Bhushan #Justice MR Shah Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more