Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 13
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all states to furnish data on migrant children, their condition along with details of benefits extended to them during COVID19 pandemic.
Acting on a PIL seeking directions to the state governments for the protection of their fundamental rights during the pandemic, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked all the states to file their affidavits.
The petitioners contended that the lockdown has resulted in tremendous hardship for migrant children and till date there has been no assessment of the exact numbers of migrant children, infants, and pregnant or lactating migrant women and their needs.
“Children of migrants and migrating children remain invisible and are the most vulnerable and are denied access to health and proper nutrition, quality education and skills and knowledge they need to thrive and spend their lives in makeshift, unfriendly, unhygienic and testing conditions,” they said.
The PIL sought directions to map, enumerate and register the number of infants and children of migrant families at various work sites and centres of concentration of migrant families with the help of local authorities at the panchayat and ward offices through frontline workers.
Appearing for the petitioners—Child Rights Trust and a Bengaluru resident—senior advocate Jayna Kothari highlighted the plight of migrant children.
The top court had made all the states parties to the PIL on March 8 and issued notices to them on the PIL.
The petitioners submitted that due to the severity of the impact of the COVID19, the Centre had announced a nationwide lockdown and during which migrant children were affected the worst as they were the most vulnerable.
“The pandemic is having a discriminatory impact on migrant children and has aggravated their vulnerabilities. Migrant children will be denied their fundamental rights to education, health and nutrition if the matter is not heard and appropriate orders passed by this Court,” the PIL submitted.