Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 18
As lakhs of migrant workers remain stranded in various cities, a PIL in the Supreme Court has sought a direction to the Centre to allow them to return to their native places after testing them for COVID19.
The large number of migrant workers gathering at bus terminuses in various cities was a testament to the fact that they were distressed, didn’t want to be lodged in shelter homes and wanted to return home, the petition filed by former Dean of Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) Jagdeep Chhokar and advocate Gaurav Jain contended.
The petitioners demanded that the authorities should make necessary arrangements for their return home.
Restriction of movement of migrant workers and their confinement in the city of their migration in a shelter homes violated their rights to freedom of movement and right to live with human dignity guaranteed under Article 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution respectively, they contended.
Stranded away from home at various places during this health crisis migrant workers were the worst affected people, the petition submitted.
During hearing of another PIL, the Centre had recently told the top court that close to seven lakh migrant workers had been accommodated in more than 21,000 temporary shelters across India and they were being given food and medical facilities. It had said their march was halted to prevent spread of the pandemic.
But the petitioners said the distressed migrant workers should be allowed to go back home in view of the extension of nationwide lockdown till May 3 after subjecting them to COVID-19 test.
Those who test negative for COVID-19 should be allowed to go home and shouldn’t be forcefully kept in shelter homes and the authorities should arrange for the safe travel, the petitioners demanded.
Arrangements for COVID19 testing can be made for those willing to go back to their native places either in the state of their departure or in the state of their arrival, the petition submitted.
It should be done without compromising on the norm of physical distancing, it added.
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