Supreme Court directs States to provide food and water to stranded migrants


The Supreme Court of India instituted a suo motu writ petition titled Re: Problems and miseries of migrant labourers and issued notice to the Union Government and all the States/Union Territories. Ajeevika Bureau, a public service initiative which provides services and solutions on seasonal migrant labour and informal workers filed an impleadment application seeking urgent directions from the Supreme Court with regard to food and other essentials to be provided tot he migrants workers as early as possible.

The application sought among other reliefs - the setting up of food kitchens at all border points where workers have gathered or stranded along road sides; re-starting the mid-day meal programme throughout the country; to do away with bureaucratic forms of identification while providing basic services like food and water to the migrants; to provide additional entitlements of 5 kg wheat/rice and 1 kg preferred pulses free every month for the next three months in addition to the existing entitlement in accordance with the announcement of the Relief Package by the Finance Minister.

The Supreme Court on 28.05.2020 after a prolonged hearing issued the following interim directions:

(1) No train or bus fares be charged from any migrant workers;
(2) Migrant workers stranded at different places should be provided food free of cost by the States;
(3) The originating State along with the Railways Department should provide meal and water to the migrant workers travelling back to their home through trains or buses;
(4) The process of registration for travel should be simplified;
(5) After registration, the workers should be made to board the train or bus at the earliest;
(6) Once they reach their native place, transport and other facilities should be provided free of cost by the receiving state;
(7)Migrant workers who are found walking on the highways or roads should be provided transport, food and all facilities including water.