The IA was filed in the wake of the death of 16 migrant labourers in Aurangabad. The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an Application seeking urgent directions to all DMs across India to identify walking labourers and to ensure that they reach their native places, free of cost and in a dignified manner.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, S K Kaul and B R Gavai observed that it was not possible for the Court to monitor the situation, and said that it is up to the State Governments to take appropriate actions in that regard.
“How can we stop them from walking? It is impossible for this Court to monitor who is walking and who is not walking?”, observed Justice L Nageswara Rao, who led the bench.
Not inclined to entertain the matter, Justice S K Kaul, another judge in the bench, observed, “Every advocate reads something suddenly and then you want us to decide issues under Article 32 of the Constitution of India based on your knowledge of newspapers? Will you go and implement government directives? We will give you a special pass and you go and check”.
The IA, filed by Petitioner-in-Person Alakh Alok Srivastava, stated that the urgent interference of the Apex Court was needed in light of the heart-wrenching incident which had taken place at Gadhejalgaon village in Aurangabad District (Maharashtra) on 8th May at 5.30AM wherein at least 16 migrant workers who were walking on foot from Maharasthra to Madhya Pradesh had been killed by a train.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted to the Bench that the government had already started providing transport from one State to another:
“The Government has already started helping migrant workers. But, they are not waiting for their turn and they start walking.
Subject to interstate agreement, everybody will get a chance to travel. Using force on them can be counterproductive. They may wait for their turn, rather than starting on foot.”
He further submitted that if people got angry and started on foot instead of waiting for the transport to be provided, nothing could be done. The government could only request that people should not walk.
In light of these submissions, the Bench dismissed the Interim Application.