Main Article: Covid-19 | Situation of Migrant Workers Amidst Lockdown

The Supreme Court of India dismissed an application which sought transportation of migrant workers stranded in various states due to the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. The court observed that it was “impossible for it to monitor who is walking and not walking.”

The Supreme Court had earlier on 27 April 2020, dismissed the writ petitoin filed by the petitioner Alak Alok Srivastava. On 08 May 2020, the petitioner filed an application in this disposed of writ petition. The application sought directions to the Centre to ask all District Magistrates in the country to identify stranded migrant workers and provide shelter, food to them before ensuring their free transportation to their native places, as reported by Bar and Bench. The application was heard by bench comprising Justices LN Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai.

Court observed during the hearing:

How can the court stop anybody when they choose to sleep on railway tracks. There are people walking and not stopping. How can we help?

As reported by Mint, court observed that “every advocate read incidents in the newspaper and become knowledgeable about every subject. The Court further observed that the petitioner’s “knowledge is completely based on newspaper clippings and then under Article 32, he wants the court to decide on this matter.”

Appearing for the Union of India, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted:

The states are providing interstate transport. But if people get angry and start on foot instead of waiting for the transport to be provided, nothing can be done. We can only request that people should not walk. Using force to stop them would be counterproductive.

Barn and Bench