States do not comply with SC ruling on migrant workers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to list a plea made by activists that the Centre and State governments have hardly bothered to comply with a June 2021 judgment to provide food and social security to migrant workers even as the third wave of the pandemic rages on.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana agreed to an oral mentioning made by advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioners Harsh Mander, Anjali Bharadwaj and Jagdeep Chokkar, for an early hearing.

The petitioners contended that the court’s judgment on June 29, 2021 in the suo motu case concerning the plight of migrant workers amid the pandemic had directed the Centre to undertake exercise under Section 9 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 to re-determine the total number of persons to be covered in rural and urban areas under the Public Distribution System. The coverage is based on the 2011 census.

Further, the court had directed State governments to bring in place an appropriate scheme for distribution of dry ration to migrant workers without insistence on furnishing of identity proof, and continue such scheme till the time the pandemic continues. The court had also ordered States to run community kitchens at prominent places where large number of migrant labourers were found.

“However, the Central government and most State governments have failed to implement and operationalise these directions. The non-compliance is even more concerning as the country is once again facing rising number of COVID-19 cases and nearly all States have put in place lockdowns, restrictions and curfews thereby exacerbating the economic distress and hardships of migrant workers, most of whom are in the unorganised sector and therefore have no social or financial security net to fall back on,” the petitioners have contended.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 12:40:38 am |