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Cannot monitor migrants’ movements: Supreme Court asks states to look into matter

The Supreme Court on Friday asked how it could stop migrant workers from walking while hearing a plea raising concerns over the matter.

Cannot monitor migrants movements Supreme Court asks states to look into matter
New Delhi, First Published May 15, 2020, 2:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked states to look into the issue of several migrant workers taking to the streets to return to their native places amid the lockdown. The apex court was hearing a public interest litigation in this regard when it said it cannot monitor the movement of labourers.

The Supreme Court said today, "It is impossible for this court to monitor who is walking and not walking." The court also said sternly, "Let the state decide. Why should the court hear or decide?" The petition filed by lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava urged that the court ask the Centre to identify migrants walking on the roads and provide them food and shelter.

The lawyer had also referred to a recent incident in Maharashtra, where 16 migrants sleeping on railway tracks were run over by a cargo train. It is for the states to decide, said the Supreme Court. "There are people walking and not stopping. How can we stop it?" the judges said.

On the train accident, the court said, "How can anyone stop this when they sleep on railway tracks?".

The labourers say the lack of resources, food and work opportunities have left them with no option but to go back to their home states. The opposition parties have criticised the Centre over its handling of the migrant labourer crisis stemming from the lockdown, which they say could have been planned and executed better.

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