Can't stop migrant workers from walking: SC on Aurangabad incident
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition seeking relief for migrant workers in view of the Aurangabad incident. Last week, in Maharashtra's Aurangabad, 16 migrant workers were crushed to death by a goods train while they were asleep. The SC observed that it cannot stop migrant workers or monitor their movement and rejected the plea. Here are more details.
A three-judge SC bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and also comprising Justices SK Kaul and BR Gavai, was hearing a plea filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, according to PTI. The plea had sought directions to the Centre to identify stranded migrant workers, and provide shelter and food to them, before ensuring their free transportation to native places.
According to PTI, the plea referred to the tragic Aurangabad incident, along with other accidents that took place in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh where migrant workers were killed on highways.
According to NDTV, the bench said, "How can anyone stop this when they sleep on railway tracks?" Addressing Srivastava, it added, "Your knowledge is based on newspaper clippings and then you want this court to decide. Let the state decide." The bench said it's impossible for the SC to monitor who is walking and asked the Centre if it could act on the same.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta reportedly said nothing can be done if people choose to walk on foot despite the provisions of inter-state transport. According to Bar&Bench, Mehta said, "If people get angry and start on foot instead of waiting for the transport to be provided nothing can be done. We can only request that people should not walk. Using force would be counterproductive."
Last Friday, migrant workers sleeping on the Aurangabad-Jalna railway line were killed in Maharashtra. Reportedly, the workers had fallen asleep on the tracks as they were exhausted walking from Maharashtra's Jalna to their homes in Madhya Pradesh, over 150 km away. According to the interim application, filed in a disposed petition, the deceased hailed from MP's Shahdol and Umaria districts.