Migrant labours of the country are undertaking long journeys on foot due to the lockdown. Similar is the state of migrant labours in Andhra Pradesh (AP). Many of them have lost their jobs and have no money. Hunger forced them to go back to their hometown. They are bearing long journeys on foot since hunger seems unbearable. The AP HC issued directions to the State Government to provide them with basic amenities.
Observation of the Court
The Court stated that if it doesn’t pass orders at this stage, it would be failing in its role. The court is the “protector and reliever of pain”. These directions are in the PIL matter of K. Ramakrishna v. Union of India. The Honourable Justices’ asked the government to provide food, toilets, medical help etc.
Highlighting the Legal Perspective
The Court observed that the people had shifted to cities for a better life who are all on roads today. It highlighted the expanding scope of “life” under Art. 21 of the Constitution and emphasized for healing the pain of labours.
The Court observed that it is an alarming situation. It necessitated on the immediate intervention of the court. It ordered the Government to distribute food to labourers, who are walking on the roads.
Centres of the state should have clean drinking water, oral salts and glucose. It directed to provide hygienic temporary toilets and sanitary pad dispensing machines. It gave directions for ensuring transportation arrangements, food centres and shelters. State Government should distribute pamphlets to guide labours’ way to these centres. It should set up an emergency number to contact for getting help.
Order of the Court
The Court asked the state to follow directions and file a compliance report by May 22, 2020. On Friday, SC refused to admit plea for providing relief to migrant workers walking on the road. It rejected the plea for giving directions to identify workers and to send them to their homes free of cost. The Karnataka HC instead gave directions to ensure the people can travel to their native places. This has also set an example.
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