The Bombay High Court yesterday (July 14) expressed dissatisfaction over the way the migrant labourers’ issue had been handled in West Bengal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The court observed that the West Bengal government, at one point of time, had even refused to allow labourers from other parts of the country to return to their homes in West Bengal.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai made the observation while hearing a petition filed by Centre of Indian Trade Unions. The Mumbai-based trade union body had raised concerns over the plight of migrant workers then stranded in Maharashtra in the nationwide lockdown.
The petitioners were also angry at the way the Maharashtra government handled the issue. It pointed out that the process laid down by the Maharashtra government was that migrant workers had to register themselves to travel by ‘Shramik Special’ trains to their native states. That was cumbersome and should have been simplified.
The development following the petition was that the government last month told the court that currently there was no demand for ‘Shramik Special’ trains.
Senior counsel Gayatri Singh, appearing for the petitioner, yesterday (July 14) told the court that the government’s submission that there are no stranded migrants who desire to go back to their native states was “incorrect”.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the Maharashtra government, on Tuesday told the court that a similar matter pertaining to the issue of migrant workers was pending before the Supreme Court.
– India Legal Bureau
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