Madras High Court
Madras High Court
Litigation News

[Coronavirus] Madras HC asks Government to ensure shelter, food for the shelterless and poor workers during Sunday's "Janta curfew"

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court on Friday raised concern over the possible plight of poor workers and shelterless persons when the country goes into curfew on Sunday as part of the Janta curfew announced last night as part of the measures proposed to fight the transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

While hearing a habeas corpus case today, the petitioner's counsel, Advocate AP Suryaprakasam had occasion to point out that there may be constraints in accessing groceries on Sunday by the detenues, given the nationwide Janta curfew to be carried out from 7 am to 9 pm.

The counsel further told the Court that people without any shelter may need additional protection during the curfew. In view of the submissions, the Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and R Hemalatha proceeded to opine,

"As rightly pointed out by Mr.A.P.Suryaprakasam, in these days of crisis, the interest of daily coolies and poor workers should be taken care of by this Court, especially during “Janata Curfew”, as this Court is a constitutional Court."
Madras High Court

Responding to submissions made for the State Corporation that there are night shelters available to such persons in need, the Bench emphasised that this information should read such persons as well.

As observed in the order, "Though it is submitted that the people can use the night shelters, the availability of those night shelters are not made known to the people. Therefore, the Government and the Corporation are directed to inform through Media about the availability of night shelters to the people who are suffering without any shelters."

Further the Court has also emphasised that the Government should take up the responsibility to provide such poor people food during the curfew, by utilising Community halls and like spaces if necessary.

"It is also the duty of the Government and the Corporation to provide food for above mentioned poor people during “Janata Curfew” during which time hotels and shops would not be opened. If necessary, the Government and the Corporation shall utilise the Community Halls, Marriage Halls and Schools for this purpose on 22.03.2020 (“Janata Curfew”)."
Madras High Court
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