On 29 March 2020, Alakh Alok Srivastava, a Ghaziabad based advocate, filed a public interest litigation – writ petition before the Supreme Court of India. On 30 March 2020, this petition was mentioned before the bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao. The petitioner sought an urgent hearing in the matter.
The Petition has sought directions to the Union of India “to immediately identify such stranded migrant workers and to shift them to the nearest government shelter homes or grant them accommodations with proper food, water, medicines and under medical supervision, in a dignified manner, till the present lockdown continues.”
Court asked Union of India, which was represented by Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, to file a status report on the steps taken about the largescale inter-State movement of migrant workers after the 21-day national lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. Solicitor General submitted that the report will be filed by 31 March 2020.
The hearing took place through video conferencing as the court premises are closed due to Covid-19 lockdown.
Bar and Bench reports that “Solicitor General told the Court that the Centre as well as the states were taking various steps to mitigate the situation. He said that he would file an affidavit on behalf of the Centre regarding the steps taken in this regard.” On Petitioner’s argument that there was lack of “cohesion and co-operation between the Central and the State Government, Bar and Bench reports that CJI Bobde observed that “[Court] does not wish to deal with things that the government is already taking steps on, and that he would like to take a look at the government’s affidavit on the steps taken first. The matter will be heard next on March 31.”