The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that migrant workers must not be charged fares for train and bus journeys as they headed back to their native places. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah also said that migrant workers found to be walking on the road immediately be taken to shelters and provided food and all facilities.
Highlighting lapses both by the Centre and state government, the top court also said that originating states will provide meal and water to migrant workers during their train journeys. The Bench also said that the railways must provide food and water to migrant workers, adding that this should also be done for those travelling in buses.
The Bench’s interim direction to governments read, “State shall oversee the registration of migrants & states to ensure that after registration, they are made to board transport as early as possible.”
SC’s Interim Directions:
– Railways to provide meal and water to #MigrantWorkers . Food and water to also be provided in buses
– State shall oversee the registration of migrants & states to ensure that after registration, they are made to board transport as early as possible.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) May 28, 2020
The court also directed the government to publicise the complete information to all concerned. It said, “As and when the state governments put in a request for trains, railways has to provide them.” The court noted that it was concerned ‘with the miseries and difficulty of migrants trying to get to their native place,’ adding that although state governments and Union Territories were taking steps, ‘there are several lapses.’
Days after refusing to intervene, the Supreme Court earlier this week had finally decided to take notice of the plight of migrant workers, who’ve been forced to go through unspeakable misery due to an unplanned lockdown announced by the Indian government. Taking suo motu cognisance of the full-blown humanitarian crisis, the court had conceded that there had indeed been ‘inadequacies and certain lapses’ by the Centre and the states.