The Supreme Court on Friday gave states three weeks to file replies about compliance of earlier directions in the suo motu case on the migrant crisis, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bar and Bench reported. The top court also asked states to file a reply on registration and data collection of migrants.

On June 9, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had directed the Centre and states to identify stranded migrant workers and transport them back to their hometowns within 15 days.

The bench also ordered the Centre to provide additional “Shramik Special” trains within 24 hours of requests by states, so that migrant labourers could be sent back home soon. The Centre had launched over 300 of these trains from May 1. However, not all migrant labour has been able to board them. The Centre and states have clashed over the operations of these trains.

The court said that cases filed against the labourers under the Disaster Management Act for violating the countrywide lockdown should be considered as withdrawn by states.

The Supreme Court said that states need to establish help desks to help migrants avail employment opportunities. It also ordered states to establish counselling centres for migrant workers, if they wish to travel back to their places of work and find employment. The bench said schemes established for welfare and employment of migrant workers should be properly publicised

Hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers began journeys home on foot in March, after the Centre imposed a countrywide lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Some died on the way due to illness.

India registered a record 55,078 new cases on Friday. With this, the country’s tally climbed up to 16,38,870. The toll also rose to 35,747 with 779 fresh fatalities.

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