The court on 26th May 2020 took cognizance of the miseries and plights of the lakhs of poor migrants who are stranded in various parts of the country. The apex court pointed towards the ‘inadequacies and lapses’ in dealing with the crisis and issues notice to the central and state governments to take sufficient steps to ‘redeem the situation’.
The bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M R Shah asserted on the fact that there has been defects and lapses on part of both central and state governments with respect to formulating immediate measures to cater the situation. Insufficient steps were taken for travel, food, security, and shelter to the stranded migrant laborers. The court further emphasized;
“We take suo moto cognizance of problems and miseries of migrant laborers, who had been stranded in different parts of the country. The newspaper reports and the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant laborers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances."
“In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succor and help by the concerned governments, especially steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State governments/UTs in this difficult situation to extend a helping hand to these migrant laborers.”
The court has further listed this important matter for consideration on 28th May 2020 and directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to help in the ongoing problems of migrant workers.
The cognizance by the court found its own way after the court has explicitly declined to intervene when a plea was filed for protection of the workers and provide them food shelter and security. The same came from Justice L Nageswara Rao, S K Kaul, and B R Gavai when they reiterated that how can they stop the movement of such workers or stop someone from sleeping on railway tracks. The PIL was filed as 16 migrant workers lost their lives in Maharashtra on track when the train ran over them.