Some high courts are running parallel govts: Solicitor General on migrant workers case


New Delhi, May 28: The central government continued to remain obstinate before the Supreme Court in the migrant labourers’ case maintaining that stray incidents on the difficulties faced by migrant workers should not impact the hearing in the case.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the central government, was critical of various high courts passing orders in cases concerning migrant labourers, The Hindustan Times reported.

“The issue is some high courts are running parallel governments,” Mehta said.

Various high courts including Gujarat, Madras, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had passed directions to state and central governments after taking note of the pitiable plight of migrant workers.

Mehta also attacked the lawyers who had written to the Supreme Court on May 25 criticising the top court’s silence on the migrant crisis and urging the court to intervene in the matter.

The letter was signed by leading lawyers such as P Chidambaram, Anand Grover, Indira Jaising, Mohan Katarki, Siddarth Luthra, Santosh Paul, Mahalaxmi Pavani, Kapil Sibal, Chander Uday Singh, Vikas Singh, Prashant Bhushan, Iqbal Chagla, Aspi Chinoy, Mihir Desai, Janak Dwarkadas, Rajani Iyer, Yusuf Muchhala, Rajiv Patil, Navroz Seervai, Gayatri Singh and Sanjay Singhvi.

“All these letters which have been addressed to the court to persuade Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of this issue have been written by people who are earning in crores,” Mehta said.

He went on to draw a comparison between the lawyers and South African photojournalist Kevin Carter who was awarded Pulitzer Prize for capturing a vulture eyeing a starving child in famine struck south Sudan in 1993. The child, it was reported, was attempting to reach a United Nations feeding centre.

Carter had left the place after driving away the vulture but did not help the child reach the feeding centre. “All these people wanting to intervene need to apply the vulture and child story. What have they contributed,” Mehta demanded.

Mehta told the court that migrant labourers are taking to the roads on foot because of anxiety due to “local level instigation”.

“They are told ‘walk now, trains won’t run. Lockdown extended,” Mehta said.

He told the court that the Centre and states are working above political and party lines so that mitigation measures can be taken to address the problem. Mehta also maintained that reports from all states would be needed to get a comprehensive picture of the situation.

“Let the states reply and then you will have an overall view,” the SG said.

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