The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday ordered the withdrawal of all police complaints against migrant workers who were booked for violating lockdown norms while attempting to go back to their hometowns from their work places.
The court has also asked the federal government to identify stranded migrant workers and arrange for their travel back home, asking them to complete the process within 15 days.
While mulling the decision, the court said, "What we propose to do is that we will give you (federal government) and the states 15 days' time to transport all migrants. All states will have to bring on record how they will provide employment and other kinds of relief".
While asking the government to formulate and publicise the schemes for the migrants' welfare and undertake employment relief and skill-mapping of the labourers, the court stated that it would review the situation again on 8 July.
Last month, the apex court took suo motu cognisance of the plight of migrant labourers and lambasted the government for charging train fares from the migrants. It asked the government to waive off train fares and ensure that food and water is provided to travelling migrants.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers set out to journey on foot to their hometowns in different states after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government declared a lockdown on 24 March. Many lost their lives to road accidents while undertaking the exhausting journey of hundreds of miles. Many of them were thrashed by police for violating national lockdown norms until the Indian government arranged special trains to transport them home.
Yet most of the workers continued to walk on foot, claiming that they were not able to avail the services provided by the government.