The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered states to provide free food and shelter to lakhs of migrant workers stranded in various parts of the country due to COVID19 lockdown.
A three-judge Bench headed by Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan also ordered that no fare either by train or bus shall be charged for migrant workers and Railway fare will have to be shared by states.
'All migrant workers who are stranded at various places shall be provided food by the concerned state and UT at places which shall be publicised and notified to them for the period they are waiting for their turn to board a train or a bus,' said the Bench, which also included Mr. Justice SK Kaul and Mr. Justice Mr Shah.
It said the originating state shall provide meal and water at the station and during the journey, railways to provide meal and water to migrant workers.
It emphasised the need for coordinated efforts to deal with the crisis. 'There are different mechanisms for different states. How do you ensure that nobody asks the migrant to pay or troubles him? What we are saying is that the migrants should be least concerned with the means of payment,' it said.
'The state shall oversee the registration of migrant workers and states to ensure that after registration, they are made to board the train or bus at an early date,' the Bench said.
'We further direct that those migrant workers found walking on the roads, immediately be taken to shelters and provided food and all facilities should be provided to them,' it said, adding 'As and when the state governments put in a request for trains, railways has to provide them.'
'All necessary details regarding number of migrants, plan for transportation mechanism of registration and other details should be brought on record in the reply,' the Bench said.