Consider if migrant workers can return home within state: Bombay HC


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to consider if stranded migrant labourers can travel back home within the state after undergoing medical tests.

Justice R K Deshpande made the suggestion while hearing two petitions raising concerns about the condition of migrant workers and daily wage labourers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The court said the government can consider permitting such workers to return to their native places within the state, as it would ease the burden on the administration.

Before permitting such travel, medical tests could be conducted to ensure that they are not carrying virus and would not thus spread the disease in rural areas which are by and large unaffected so far, the court said.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni assured that a state-level committee set up to address the grievances of migrant workers and daily wage labourers will look into the court’s suggestions.

District-level committees shall look into the grievances faced by stranded migrant workers and daily wage labourers about availability of water, food, shelter and other facilities, he added.

The court noted that the state government will have to conduct a survey and prepare a list of such migrant workers stranded in the state.

“The problem of COVID-19 is not restricted to this country but it pertains to infection which has spread all over the entire world,” the judge said.

“Inter-state migration of the workers and labourers is an issue which is to be tackled by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government and this is what is made known through the address by the Honourable Prime Minister of India to the nation,” the court said.

“Obviously, some of the stranded workers must be facing problems but presently, unless a survey is conducted and an appropriate decision is taken by the State Government or the Central Government, as the case may be, it is not possible to issue any positive directions,” Justice Deshpande said.

The court said it will hear the matter next on May 4.