The Centre on Wednesday opposed a public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court seeking immediate relief for the poor amid the extended lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak, saying that such “self-employment generating” pleas should not be entertained, PTI reported.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana took note of the government’s submissions that they were taking necessary steps for the implementation of the relief measures and disposed of the plea.
The bench, which also comprised Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai, was hearing a plea filed by social activist Agnivesh seeking immediate relief for the poor, homeless and the Economically Weaker Sections of the society during the ongoing nationwide lockdown till May 3.
Agnivesh, represented by lawyer Colin Gonsalves, argued that the Narendra Modi government should have paid wages to migrant workers. The lockdown has left workers stranded in several states with no money, little food and no option of leaving the places where they are currently living.
He claimed very few things have been done to help people, adding that the lockdown has created a crisis. Despite the affidavit submitted by the Centre stating that everything was being done, there was no proper implementation of the same, Agnivesh added.
The government, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said the Centre would ensure that state governments do the needful to help the poor and that day-to-day directives are being complied by them.
The court told Mehta that the grievance of the petitioner was that the relief measures were not being implemented at the ground level. The law officer said there was no reason to “not to trust” the Centre.
Mehta added that “these are self employment generating petitions” and observed that the court should refrain from entertaining these.
On April 3, Mehta had said “professional PIL shops” must be shut down till the country comes out of the unprecedented health crisis. He had also told the court that the government has done an “exemplary work” in containing the coronavirus spread.