SC pulls up Maharashtra government on migrant issue, asks for fresh affidavit
The government is duty-bound to find out problems faced by migrant workers and do the needful, the Supreme Court (SC) said on Thursday, taking exception to the stance of the Maharashtra government on the issue of migrant workers.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the claims made by the state in its affidavit cannot be accepted at face value.
The court referred to applications filed by two non-profit organisations, Sarva Hara Jan Andolan and Delhi Sharmik Sangathan, on July 7, which detailed the difficulties faced by migrant workers in Maharashtra. The applications gave information about people who were still attempting to return to their home states.
“We do not appreciate the tenor and the claims made in the affidavit filed on behalf of the state of Maharashtra. The present is not an adversarial litigation and it is the duty of the state to find out shortcomings and lapses wherever and to do the needful,” the court said, adding that the state cannot claim it will take action only if provided with information regarding such lapses.
The Maharashtra government had mentioned in its affidavit, that none of the migrant workers who are in the state are desirous of returning home since lockdown restrictions were lifted, and there are employment opportunities.
“Ask Maharashtra to file a proper affidavit. Your [Maharashtra] affidavit is adversarial. This is not an adversarial case,” justice MR Shah told solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who is representing the state.
The next hearing has been scheduled for July 17.