[COVID-19 Lockdown] Himachal Pradesh HC directs State to file Status Report on steps taken to address challenges faced by Migrant Labourers
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[COVID-19 Lockdown] Himachal Pradesh HC directs State to file Status Report on steps taken to address challenges faced by Migrant Labourers

The Court was dealing with a PIL seeking the formulation of a Standard Operating Procedure for addressing the challenges faced by stranded migrant labourers and the homeless in Himachal Pradesh.

Aishwarya Iyer

The Himachal Pradesh High Court recently directed the State to respond on a PIL seeking the formulation of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to address the challenges faced by migrant labourers and the homeless in Himachal Pradesh amid the COVID-19 crisis.

In this regard, the Court has asked the State to report on the implementation of various schemes or advisories issued by the Central Government as well.

A Bench of Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua on Wednesday also directed the PIL petitioner to supply all necessary particulars to the District Administration, so that the concerned authorites may take immediate steps in the matter.

The state authorities have been directed to file a status report regarding the steps taken by them to redress the grievances raised by the petitioner by or before the next date of hearing.

The petition filed by Advocate Subhash Chandran KR seeks to protect the fundamental rights of the migrant labourers to health and livelihood guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The PIL states that the benefits of the various schemes in place are not reaching the migrant laborers and homeless persons. The petition reads,

"... there is no proper response to the help-lines and there are several areas where there is no water, food, medicines and healthcare etc. are made available."
PIL petitioner

An order dated March 31 passed by the Supreme Court has also been cited, which directed the Police and other authorities to deal with the migrants in a humane manner and further directed the State Governments/Union Territories to engage volunteers to supervise the welfare activities for the migrant workers.

The petitioner has raised concern that migrant workers in the State are facing serious physical assaults amid the COVID-19 scare, citing attacks in Barot village in the Mandi district on April 11 by a group of unidentified locals.

To alleviate the hardships of migrant workers, the Court was told that the petitioner had procured food materials worth Rs.50,000 with the help of fellow lawyers and friends and that he had approached the local authorities for the permission to distribute the same to migrant labourers. However, he states that he was denied permission by the local administration.

Relying on directions issued by the High Courts of Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Bombay for steps to be taken in the interests of migrant workers stranded in these states, the petition now seeks various prayers for the welfare of migrant workers.

The prayers made include the issuance a temporary Ration Cards to the migrant workers, the provision of financial assistance, protective equipment such as face masks, sanitizers etc and strict legal action against persons attacking migrant workers.

The matter will be next heard on May 5.

Read the order here:

Subhash Chandran v State of HP & Ors, Order dated April 22.pdf
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