Send Migrants Home Within 15 Days, Drop Cases: Supreme Court To States

The Supreme Court said the Railways must provide additional special trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their home states.

The top court said migrants who want to go back to their workplaces must be given counselling.

New Delhi:

Migrant workers should be identified and sent to their hometowns within 15 days, the Supreme Court asked states today, adding that all cases registered against migrants who have allegedly violated coronavirus lockdown orders should be considered for withdrawal.

In its orders, the top court said states and union territories should prepare a complete list of migrant workers who have reached their home states and mention the work they were engaged in prior to the lockdown. It also asked the states and the centre to specify schemes for employment of migrant workers after the lockdown.

States and union territories were directed by the court to collect data for giving them jobs after mapping their skills.

A three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah issued the directions days after passing a series of directions, asking state governments not to charge migrant labourers for their train or bus journeys and asked states to arrange for their food and water.

The Supreme Court said migrant workers who want to go back to their workplaces must be given counselling.

The top court, which had taken up the issue on its own, said the Railways must provide additional special trains within 24 hours of states making the demand for sending the migrant workers back to their home states.

In the last hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the centre, said the railways has run 4,228 special "Shramik" trains till June 3 and taken 57 lakh people home. He said 41 lakh others have gone home by road, taking the total migrants who have left the cities to nearly one crore. Mr Mehta also told the Supreme Court that there have been no deaths due to non-supply of water, food or medicine on board the "Shramik" trains, rather due to existing illness.

The top court today directed all states to submit affidavits on schemes for migrants and their job creation by July 8 when it will take up the issue next.

The special "Shramik" trains were started on May 1 by the centre to take migrants stranded by the coronavirus lockdown to their home states.