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Cannot prevent High Courts from hearing matters related to migration due to lockdown, Supreme Court

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today said that it cannot prevent any Constitutional Court, that is the High Courts, from hearing petitions relating to migration caused due to lockdown although the orders passed by the Supreme Court on the same issues must be brought to the notice of the High Courts, CJI SA Bobde said today.

This remark came from the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde who along with Justice L Nageswara Rao was hearing the petitions concerning condition of migrant workers attempting to reach their native places amid lockdown. The hearing was conducted via video conferencing.

Covid-19 VC Hearing in SC on March 31
Covid-19 VC Hearing in SC on March 31

In light of the Supreme Court being seized of the matter, apprised of the steps taken towards ensuring safety of the migrants, and passing orders in this regard, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that it may not be appropriate for High Courts to entertain matters on the same aspect.

Mehta said that two High Courts have been moved with petitions on the issue of migrant workers.

CJI Bobde, however, said that the High Courts may be able to monitor the situation closely and added that other Constitutional Courts cannot be prevented from hearing the matters in relation to this issue. The CJI however added that the order passed by the Apex Court in this regard should be brought to the notice of all High Courts to ensure that no contrary orders are passed.

The Court told Mehta to ensure that the government lawyers bring the Supreme Court's order passed today is informed to the High Courts.

The Court also took on record the status report submitted by the Centre as regards steps taken by the government to mitigate the health crisis in light of the spread of novel coronavirus and passed certain directions to ensure issues of migrant workers, fake news pertaining to COVID19 and such issues are dealt with.

The Court will hear the case next on April 7.

[Read the order passed today]

Alakh Alok Srivastava vs Union of India - SC Order - March 31, 2020.pdf
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