Plea in SC seeks intervention in suo motu proceedings on migrant workers

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) A plea seeking intervention in a case relating to suo motu cognizance of problems faced by migrant labourers stranded in different parts of the country after the COVID-19 lockdown has been filed in the Supreme Court.

The plea filed by Students' Federation of India (SFI) said that during the lockdown, many of the outstation were students compelled to return to their homes due to pandemic.

SFI said the students are now getting calls from their landlords to pay the rents.

'It is pertinent to mention that most of these students are dependent on their family's income for their educational expenses and therefore it is an additional burden for them to pay the rents for these months of lockdown. It is respectfully submitted that a vast majority of the population of our country is employed in the informal sector; several of their incomes are unstable during this time,' the plea said.

The petition said that payment of rents for the months of lockdown at a later date would also be extremely difficult for the students as many of them come from humble financial background.

'There are millions of students in the national capital and other cities in the country who are living in rented accommodation and many of them manage their financial spreadsheets by giving tuitions, doing part-time jobs etc. to enhance their earnings and to fulfil the requirements of living in the city,' the plea said.

SFI sought to intervene in the matter and said pertinent measures may be considered by the government in order to alleviate the plight of the stranded students along with migrant labourers.   'It is submitted that in absence of any relief scheme by governments, the students will be left with no options but to pay the rent as per the agreement, even when they didn't use the accommodation premises at all as there is no clause of non-payment of rent in such extraordinary situations in most of the rent agreements.

The apex court had last Thursday said that no fare will be charged from any migrant worker for their travel either by train or bus, while directing that they are provided 'food free of cost' by the states and union territories where they are waiting to return home.

While passing a slew of interim directions 'looking into the difficulties and miseries of migrant workers', the apex court had directed that the states shall simplify and speed up the process of registration of migrant workers and provide help desk for registration at the places where they are stranded. PTI PKS SJK ZMN