‘Migrant workers want to return to cities’, SC instructed

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9

Migrant staff—a lot of whom have been seen marching on foot to their native locations throughout Covid-19 lockdown—wish to return to cities for employment, the Supreme Court was instructed on Thursday.

“Now the trend is migrants wish to return to cities, their place of employment. In Maharashtra migrants who wanted to leave earlier have now decided to stay back as the state opened up employment opportunities,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Maharashtra Government, instructed a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan which had taken suo motu cognisance of migrant staff’ plight final month. 

“That is a wholesome factor. This reverse migration is going on as a result of industries are opening up. Since May 1, round 3.5 lakh staff got here again to work once more, Mehta stated, at the same time as the highest courtroom was not glad with Maharashtra Government’s affidavit.

“You cannot say everything is fine in the state of Maharashtra and that you are providing food and transport,” the highest courtroom stated.

“You (Maharashtra) have a responsibility to find out which group of migrants is getting food etc. Your affidavit says food is being provided to all migrant workers but we think it’s far from truth. File a proper affidavit. You have treated this as an adversarial litigation,” stated the Bench, which additionally included Justice SK Kaul and Justice MR Shah.

But the Solicitor General’s submission on reverse migration was supported by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing Bihar.

“In Bihar reverse migration is happening. Migrants want to go back to cities. Trains from Bihar to cities are full,” Kumar stated.

The Bench, which had earlier ordered states to rearrange sending migrant staff again to their native locations, posted the matter for additional listening to on July 17.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi steered that an insurance coverage scheme for migrant labourers ought to be ready. 

“We also need a work plan and centralised system to rehabilitate the migrants and registration of migrants needd to be insisted upon,” he stated.

Reiterating its June 9 order fixing a 15-day deadline for sending migrant staff again residence, the Supreme Court had on June 19 requested the Centre, states and union territories to make sure compliance.

The high courtroom had stated it ought to be ensured that no migrant needed to pay something to succeed in residence.

It requested Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to talk to all states, UTs to make sure compliance with its order and to offer it due publicity.

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