SC orders State Governments to exclude migrant workers from paying travel charges

Team SoOLEGAL 29 May 2020 3:16pm

SC orders State Governments to exclude migrant workers from paying travel charges

Upon hearing of Suo Moto petition of migrant workers in the country, the Supreme Court of India has issued a number of instructions to the State Governments on Thursday.

The Orders passed by the Supreme Court are:-

  1. No train or bus fares will be charged from the workers. The railway fares will be shared by the states.
  2. Migrant workers who are stranded shall be provided with food by the concerned State at places which shall be publicized and notified for a period of time which they are waiting for their turn.
  3. The State of origin shall provide food and water at the station and during the journey. The railway to also provide food and water during the journey.
  4. The State shall monitor the registration of migrant workers and States have to ensure that the migrants are made to board the train or bus at an early date after registration.
  5. All the required information about the number of migrants, the proposal for the registration of the transport system and other information should be reported in the reply. As and when the government of the Member States asks for trains, the railway will provide them.

The Three Judges Bench consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice M.R. Shah heard the case in which Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh appeared for petitioner in Medha Patkar vs. Union of Indiaand Senior Advocates Mr. Kapil Sibbal, Mr. Colin Gonsalves, Mrs. Indira Jaising, along with Mr. P. Chidambaram appeared in the Suo Motu petition for migrant laborers.

The lawyers representing different states such as  Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh , West Bengal and U.P. Home Secretary were also present at the hearing today. 

The Court then told the SG that it required clarification as to who would pay the fare, to which the SG responded “some originating state pays, some receiving state paying. Some states are reimbursing, Food and drinking water provided by railways free of cost.Indian railways have given 84 lakh meals, the first meal is provided by state govt. once the train starts, the food is provided by the railway Ministry. If the journey is short then one meal and if it’s long then 2 meals. Similarly, for 80% plus migrants’ state of Destination is UP or Bihar, they are screened again. This we are doing to ensure they don’t pass on the infection.”

The 3 judges bench after listening to the arguments  of lawyers from different states said that “we are much concerned about transportation of those who are stranded. There are several parts of the problem. You are telling about the second part after they reach the state, you are telling us the second part- what happens after the reach there etc, you seem to be the only state working on reimbursing the migrants. But the migrants should first have money in their pockets for them to be reimbursed. No Migrant should be charged any fare. There has to be some arrangements between states about who bears the cost” 

The bench has ordered all the States to file their reports and further stated that“We are at present concerned with the miseries and difficulty of migrants trying to get to their native place, we are currently concerned with all migrant workers who are keen to go back to their native states. Although there is no doubt that concerned state governments and UTs are taking steps, there are several lapses. In the process of registration, transportation, providing food and shelter to the migrants. It is seen that even after registration the migrants have to wait for a long time for their turns to come. Even after registration migrants have to wait for their turn to board the train or bus. Large number of migrants still proceeding by foot though SG says there are instructions to state governments to facilitate a bus or vehicle if any migrants are seen walking on foot

Tagged: Suo Moto petition   migrant workers   Supreme Court   State Governments   railway fares   Justice Ashok Bhushan   Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul   Justice M.R. Shah  
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