Send migrants back in 15 days, says SC
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Send migrants back in 15 days, says SC

S.Sivadas

S.Sivadas

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that all migrant workers willing to travel to their native places should be sent back within 15 days and Shramik Special trains should be arranged for them by the Railways within 24 of demand being made.

A Bench headed by Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan said all migrant workers have to be identified and registered for sending them back home.

The Bench---which also included Mr. Justice SK Kaul and Mr. Justice MR Shah---asked states and union territories to submit schemes to give employment to migrant workers.

'States need to establish (a) help desk which will help migrant labourers to avail of employment opportunities,' it said.

The top court ordered setting up counselling centres to help migrant workers who have returned home find employment. If they wanted to travel back for employment, states should facilitate the process, it added.

The court asked states to consider withdrawal of cases filed against migrant workers for violating the lockdown under NDMA, if any, for violation of COVID-19 lockdown.

Asking the Centre, states and union territories to file further affidavits, the top court posted the case for hearing on July 8.

Directing states to collect village-wise and block-wise data, the top court said states should map out skills of migrant workers and help them to get reemployed.

The Bench issued the directions after taking note of the submissions of the Centre, states and union territories on steps taken to mitigate misery of migrants stranded across the country due to COVID-19 lockdown.

Last month, the top court had taken suo motu cognisance of migrant workers’ miseries and ordered states to provide them free food, shelter and travel.

On the last date of hearing, the Centre had asserted that no migrant worker had died on Shramik Special trains due to lack of food, water or medication. The Solicitor General ,Mr. Tushar Mehta, had denied any negligence on part of the Railways and the GRP. All reported deaths had occurred due to pre-existing ailments, he had claimed.

The Solicitor General had said 4,228 trains had ferried home over one crore migrant workers till June 3, and 90 per cent of them had already reached their native places.

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