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The Supreme Court of India. (Photo: Mint)
The Supreme Court of India. (Photo: Mint)

SC orders free travel, food for migrant workers

  • Originating state will be responsible to provide food and water at stations and the Railways will take care during the journey
  • The top court also ordered making public complete information of these workers to all concerned authorities

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday passed a slew of orders to manage and ease the miseries of migrant workers, who are desperate to reach their hometowns amid the lockdown. In its suo moto case related to the plight of these workers, the apex court held that trains or buses cannot charge any fare and the workers must be provided free food while they wait to board their respective transportation.

Originating state will be responsible to provide food and water at stations and the Railways will take care during the journey. State governments will oversee the registration of migrant workers and must ensure that they board trains or buses at the earliest.

The top court also ordered making public complete information of these workers to all concerned authorities.

It also said if migrant workers are found walking on the roads, then they should be taken to shelters immediately and given food.

The court clarified that train fares will have to be shared by states and union territories (UTs) and held that whenever states place request for trains, the Railways have to provide them.

The three-judge bench also directed all states/UTs to file detailed replies by 5 June with necessary details regarding number of migrants, plan for transportation, mechanism of registration and other related details of shifting of the migrant workers. The court will next hear the case on 5 June.

On Tuesday, the bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah had taken suo motu cognizance of the miseries of these workers and issued notice to the central government and all states/UTs in this regard.

The bench, in its order today, said payment of railway ticket fares will be borne by receiving or originating state. In any scenario, migrant workers will not be asked to bear the cost of tickets.

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