SC rejects plea for using hotels as shelters for migrant workers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea seeking direction for using resorts and hotels for migrant workers walking back to their native places after being rendered jobless following 21-day lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic as shelter homes where they are kept allegedly lack adequate sanitation facilities.

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta, which heard the matter through video-conferencing, observed that the court cannot force the government to listen to all the ideas as people may come up with millions of ideas.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, raised objections on the application and said that state governments have already taken over buildings like schools and others to use them as shelter for migrants.

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The apex court is already seized of petitions which have raised the issue related to migration of daily wagers from cities to their native places amid the lockdown.

On March 31, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, had directed the Centre to ensure that migrant workers kept in shelter homes are given food and adequate medical aid.

The top court, which had also asked the Centre to take assistance of trained counsellors and religious leaders of all faiths to help the migrants overcome their panic, had observed that “panic will destroy more lives than the virus”.

It had also asked the Centre to set up within 24 hours a portal for dissemination of real-time information on COVID-19 pandemic to counter the panic and fear being spread through fake news.

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The solicitor general had told the bench on March 31 that no migrant worker, who had left for their native places, “is on the road now”.

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