The Court with the bench of three judges issued an order, instructing Central and all State Governments and Union Territories to provide necessary aid, food, and shelter to the stranded migrant workers.
On the 25th of May, PM Modi was compelled to declare a nationwide lockdown due to the looming terror of Coronavirus. Due to the lack of necessary precautions, people suffered. But the most brunt was borne by the workers, especially the migrant workers who could not return to their homes and were stuck in cities, where they worked, without any money or shelter.
Many of them took to walking or cycling back home and hundreds lost their lives on the way.
The government did provide facilities to the stranded migrant workers but that was not enough and inadequacy was observed throughout the nation.
The Supreme Court had previously refused to acknowledge the pleas of Magistrate Alakh Alok Srivastava who appealed to the Court on May 15th to instruct the Centre to order to every District Magistrate in every State to acknowledge the stranded migrant workers, provide them with shelter and arrange their return home.
Supreme Court had refused involvement then. But after two months of suffering of the laborer’s Court, on 26th May took suo motu cognizance of the suffering of the workers and issued the order.
The bench consisted of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and M.R. Shah. They acknowledged the inefficiency of the governments to deal with the problem at hand.
“Adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and the State governments free of cost. Although the Government of India and the State governments have taken measures yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses”, the order issued by the Supreme Court read.
Court addressed the media coverage of the plight of the workers too.
“The newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of the migrant laborers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances,”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was asked to submit a report regarding steps taken by governments in providing assistance to the deprived and suffering. The report is due on 28th May.
Supreme Court in its statement, added,
“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 mentioned the utmost need for the government to help the troubled in these times. The deprived are in dire need of assistance and care. During the harsh times where people are most grateful for their shelter and food, many are denied those basic needs too.