Published On : Sat, May 30th, 2020

HC seeks status report on migrants from Maha

Bombay high court has asked Maharashtra government to file a status report over migrants gathering in Mumbai and nearby areas amid the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown.

A bench comprising of Bombay high court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice KK Tated asked the State to file a status report, which contains details of the procedure for travel and arrangements made for migrants workers, and slated the matter for further hearing on June 2.

The bench was hearing a petition, filed by Centre of Indian Trade Unions, raising concerns over the procedure in the state for migrant workers’ travel back to their home states.

The court said that the report shall indicate the whole procedure that a migrant worker is required to follow in order to be eligible for leaving the state, the likely time within which they could board a train/bus, the nature of shelter he is provided with during the waiting period as well as provisions made available to him for their sustenance.

According to the petitioners, the migrant workers who have submitted applications for leaving the state availing Shramik special trains and buses, have been left in the dark about the status of their applications and made to live in cramped and unhygienic shelters, without being provided with food and other essentials.

Speaking to ANI, CITU member Dr Montiero said that the union took the matter to the court after seeing the situation of the various migrant labours from West Bengal stranded in Mumbai and nearby areas.

“The court has taken our issue very positively and agreed as this is an important issue. Responding to our petition, the court has also asked the Centre and State Government to file an affidavit by June 2,” Dr Montiero said.

During the hearing, additional solicitor general Anil Singh appearing for the Central government submitted that the Supreme Court is seized of the matter and a detailed order had been passed on May 28, 2020, taking care of the plight of such migrant workers.

“Indeed, on perusal of the order dated May 28, 2020, we find that certain directions have been issued by the Supreme Court to all the States for simplifying and speeding up the process of registration of migrant workers as well as to provide a help desk for registration at the places where they are stranded.

“All the state governments have been directed to file their responses and the suo motu petition is due to be listed next on June 5, 2020,” Singh said.

The court said that at this stage, neither is it empowered nor does it wish to make any order contrary to the spirit of the order of the Supreme Court.

“However, having regard to the peculiar local conditions, we consider it fit and proper to call upon the State to file a report indicating therein how the plight of the migrant workers, who have been assembling at the railway stations/bus stands in Mumbai and places around it, are being addressed,” the court said.

“In fact, we have come across photographs in newspapers showing congregation of migrant workers not only on railway platforms but also on the streets adjoining the railway stations.

“Such congregation, if allowed, would run counter to the object, for which the lockdown has been imposed,” it added.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had taken up a suo motu petition over the plight of the migrant workers and directed that the migrant workers found walking home should immediately be taken to shelters and should be provided with food and all other basic facilities.

The court had, on Thursday, also directed the Centre and state government not to charge any fare from the migrant workers for their travel, via train or bus, back home.