Migrants, Supreme Court
Migrants, Supreme Court
Litigation News

"States not interested" in implementing social welfare enactments for migrant workers: Supreme Court pulls up Maharashtra, Delhi

The Court had, while hearing the suo motu case on the COVID-19 migrant crisis on July 31, specifically asked the states to file affidavits on operation of three Acts relating to migrant workers.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the governments of Maharashtra and Delhi for failing to file affidavits on the operation of three enactments relating to migrant workers.

The Court had, while hearing the suo motu case on the COVID-19 migrant crisis on July 31, specifically asked the states to file the same.

Making its displeasure clear in no unequivocal terms, the Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah chided Maharashtra and Delhi for not filing their affidavits giving details of the operation of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979; the Construction Workers Act, 1996; and the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

Pointing out that Maharshtra and Delhi had the highest number of migrant workers, the Court said,

"Although various States have filed their reply but the States of Maharashtra and NCT of Delhi have not filed their affidavits in compliance of our order dated 31.07.2020. The States of Maharasthra and Delhi are the States where the maximum number of migrants have come and are working."

The order goes on to note,

"When the Court passed specific order directing the States to file affidavits, the Court’s intention was to see the working of the aforesaid acts. Non-filing of affidavit clearly indicates that the States are not interested in implementing the aforesaid enactments."
Supreme Court

The three enactments in question require states to register the migrant labour workforce in order to ensure that the funds allocated and earmarked for the their welfare are disbursed to them.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had earlier filed an application before the Supreme Court highlighting that the implementation of the provisions under these Acts was not done in various states. This prompted the Court to requisition details on the operation of these enactments in states.

During yesterday's hearing, despite being irked by the failure of Maharashtra and Delhi to furnish these specific details, the Court granted another two weeks' time for the affidavits to be filed.

The Court will take up the matter after two weeks, by which time Maharashtra, Delhi, and other states that are yet to comply with the order, are required to file their affidavits.

Read Order:

IN RE PROBLEMS AND MISERIES OF MIGRANT LABOURERS - 01.09.2020.pdf
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