After rejecting PILs, SC suo motu takes up plight of migrants | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognisance of the plight of migrant workers during the lockdown following constant criticism by activists, activist-lawyers and even retired judges that the court was “insensitive” and had “bowed to the government” by refusing to entertain PILs highlighting the condition of workers who are walking home or are being herded into trucks.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay K Kaul and M R Shah sought responses within 48 hours from the Centre, all states and Union Territories on the issue and said the crisis pertaining to migrant labourers could be linked to lapses and inadequacies of the governments and that the need of the hour was to immediately provide them free transport, shelter and food.
“Effective, concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation,” the bench said and asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to put before the court on Thursday all measures taken to provide succour and adequate transport to migrant workers. Heart-wrenching stories relating to exodus of lakhs of migrant workers have been hitting the headlines and it finally persuaded the SC, which had steadfastly refused to manage the Covid-19 situation, to intervene.
“We take suo motu cognisance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers who had been stranded in different parts of the country. Newspaper reports and other media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable condition of migrant labourers walking on foot and cycling long distances,” the bench said.
“They have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration in places where they were stranded or in the way… this section of society needs succour and help from concerned governments, especially steps need to be taken by the Centre, states and UTs in this difficult situation to extend a helping hand to these migrant labourers,” the bench of Justices Bhushan, Kaul and Shah said.
“Although the government of India 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. It directed the plea to be taken up on Thursday and sought information on measures and steps taken by the government.

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