Thursday, November 30, 2023

Himachal HC Seeks Action Taken Report From State Govt On COVID Related Advisories From Centre

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The Himachal Pradesh Government has been asked to file an Action taken report on steps taken to address the challenges of migrant labourers and poor homeless and form implementation of Central schemes and advisories.  

The Himachal Pradesh High Court gave the order on a petition filed by Advocate Subhash Chandran seeking that directions be issued to mitigate the suffering of the poor, particularly by issuing temporary Ration Card to migrant workers and to provide free ration till the withdrawal of Lockdown.

Chief Justice L Narayna Swamy and Js. Jyotsna Rewal Dua ordered that the District Administration on receiving particulars by Petitioner is directed to file status report as to what steps are taken to address grievances of Petitioner. 

The Petition also sought to provide financial assistance of Rs.3,000/- to the stranded migrant workers and poor homeless in the State from CMDRF /H.P Covid19 Solidarity Response Fund. Petitioner prays that District Labour Officers shall, in co-ordination with the respective District Legal Services Authorities, monitor the effective implementation of the steps taken by the State Government in providing food, shelter and other essential commodities and services to the migrant workers in the State, during the lockdown period. Adequate healthcare facility is to be provided to migrant workers especially pregnant women, children and disabled.

Also directions are sought to provide sufficient protective equipment like facemasks, sanitizers, soaps to migrant workers and poor homeless in State free of cost.Respondents be directed to abide by Directions of Supreme Court in WP © No. 468/2020 and State Governments and other authorities should abide by directions of Centre in this regard.

The Petitioner stepped in after seeing plight of migrant labourers and receiving SOS calls from migrants and activists and procured food materials worth 50,000/- Rupees with the help of fellow lawyers and friends and approached local authorities for permission to distribute the same to migrant labourers whereas Permission was denied by local administration. District Legal Service Authority, Solan expressed all support for the initiative.

Petition referred to order dated 31.03.2020 of Jammu and Kashmir High Court which directed UT and Government shall ensure keeping movement restriction is strictly enforced, accomodation, healthcare and needs of migrant labours are provided for and addressed. 

On 29.03.2020, under Section 6 and 10, National Disaster Management Act, 2005, order was issued directing  :-

“All the employers, be it in the industry, or in shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages of workers at their workplaces on the due date without any deduction for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown”

It was submitted that above order is binding for all Departments under Centre as well as State Government. Instead of following any directions given by Union of India, the Respondents have not formulated any SOP for addressing challenges or implementing schemes of Central Government.

-India Legal Bureau

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