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

On 27 April 2020, the Supreme Court today disposed of the writ petition seeking Alakh Alok Srivastava seeking relief measures for migrant workers in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

Economic Times reported that Central Government informed the court in its latest status report that the spread of coronavirus has slowed down in India due to the “pre-emptive” and “proactive” steps such as the lockdown. The report states:

The central government initiated timely action and geared up all its ministries much before WHO had declared Covid-19 to be a public health emergency of international concern. Very few countries of the world responded in as timely the way India responded, as a result of which the spread of Covid-19 is capable of being contained in our country so far.

As per the latest statistics furnished by the state governments and Union territories, 37,978 relief camps have already been set up by state governments and Union Territories and genuine NGOs. Nearly 14.3 lakh persons have been housed in these camps. In addition to the above, 26,225 food camps have also been opened giving food to nearly 1.34 crore persons.

The Petitioner had on 20 April filed an application seeking interim directions to ensure that rights of migrant workers are safeguarded and basic essentials such as food, water, shelter and medical aid are provided to them during the nationwide lockdown. He had further sought “orders directing all District Magistrates (DMs) across the country to conduct daily inspections of all shelter homes, camps and such facilities in their respective districts to ensure that essential supplies are being adequately provided to migrant workers.

The court had sought information with regard to the inter-state movement of the workers. Court was informed by the Centre in its status report that status report filed before the Court mentions that there is no inter-state movement allowed, and that complete restrictions were now in place.

Status report further stated:

In view of the steps taken by the government, it is submitted that there is no necessity for migration of workers to shift from places of their occupation to the place of their residence and rush back to their villages, Their daily needs are being taken care of wherever they are working and the daily needs of their family members were being taken care of at their respective village.

The court disposed of the petition with the following remarks:

During the course of hearing, learned Solicitor General has agreed that the interim directions passed by this Court on 31­3­2020 will be continued and that the suggestions made in the Interlocutory Application will be examined and appropriate action will be taken on such suggestions.
Ordered accordingly.
With the above observation, the Writ Petition is disposed of.