Home >News >India >SC notice to govt on migrant workers’ wages

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Union government on a plea seeking immediate payment of minimum wages to migrant workers and the self-employed poor because of the nationwide lockdown.

The court bench comprising Justice L. Nageshwar Rao and Justice Deepak Gupta sought a response from the Centre by 7 April. The bench observed that it was “concerned about the plight of migrant workers in the unorganized sector".

The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by human rights activists Harsh Mander and Anjali Bharadwaj and advocate Prashant Bhushan represented the petitioners in the court. The hearing took place through video-conferencing.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the government, objected to the plea and said that “PIL shops" must be closed down.

He said that genuinely public spirited people are helping people on the ground.

“Sitting in AC rooms and filing PILs does not help," he said.

He offered to file a detailed report on migrants and workers if the court asks the government to do so.

The PIL states that the home ministry had on 29 March passed an order that was insufficient to address the mass exodus of migrant workers from cities because of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

The home ministry order directed employers to pay wages to migrant workers and barred landlords from evicting them if rent isn’t paid during the lockdown period.

The petitioners claimed that the central and state authorities should ensure wages to these migrant workers are paid.

According to the petitioner, it is the obligation of the Union and state governments under the Disaster Management Act to formulate a detailed action plan and create a machinery to tackle the issues arising out of a disaster and extend immediate help to the victims.

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