Frame scheme for providing relief to voiceless section of society: HC to Delhi govt Chief Secy

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New Delhi, May 3 (PTI) The Chief Secretary of the Delhi government was on Monday directed by the Delhi High Court to frame a scheme for providing proper and adequate relief to the 'voiceless and marginalised' sections of the society, including the various categories of unorganised workers.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Asha Menon was of the opinion that 'in view of the scale and magnitude of pandemic, a structured response by the administration is required so that the voiceless and the marginalised sections of the society can be given proper and adequate relief'.

The observation came while hearing a plea by lawyer Abhijeet Pandey seeking registration of all migrant workers in Delhi under the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 and to provide free medicines and medical facilities to them.

The plea, filed through advocate Varun Singh, has also sought a direction to the Centre and Delhi government to pay monies under the income transfer scheme of the Inter State Migrant Act to all migrant workers of the national capital territory.

The court issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government seeking their response to the petition.

The bench ordered that the plea be treated as representation to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi 'who is directed to frame a scheme incorporating a structured response for the 'home-based worker', 'self-employed worker' and 'unorganised worker', as defined under the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008, within two weeks'. 'While framing the scheme, the Chief Secretary shall keep in mind the prayers sought for in the present writ petition, including the prayer for payment of ex gratia amount to the unorganised workers and the migrant workers. 'The Chief Secretary shall also ensure that the registration process under the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 is simplified and is implemented at the ground level,' the court said. The bench also said that since the pandemic was of a 'gigantic magnitude', the Chief Secretary should consider the feasibility of involving the elected representatives as well as the civil society at large, in particular NGOs, Gurudwaras etc., who have a good track record and who have been working with the administration in the past.

With the directions, the court listed the matter for hearing on May 20.

During the hearing, the Delhi government told the court that it was taking steps 'to ameliorate the condition of the migrant workmen as well as those working in the unorganised sector'.

The Delhi government further told the bench that provisions for free shelter, food and medicare have been made and Rs. 98,96,70,000 have been disbursed to 2,10,684 workers under order dated April 20, 2021 passed by the Chief Secretary under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

To this, Singh told the bench that the April 20 order was specifically related and restricted to the workers registered under the Building and Other Construction Workers' (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

He said that till date, there is no scheme to give benefit to the workers under the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 and that there was no database to locate and identify the migrant workers in NCT of Delhi. PTI HMP RKS RKS