ILNS: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed states to submit the number of migrant children in their respective states and their condition while hearing a PIL seeking enforcement of fundamental rights of migrant children during the Covid-19 pandemic under Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 21A, 39 and 47 of the Constitution.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said, “All the states are directed to file replies and state the number of migrant children, who are there in the state and what is the condition of those children.”
The petition, filed by the Child Rights Trust, seeks to ensure migrant children and children of migrant workers are provided proper living conditions, nutrition, health care/immunisation, access to education and their protection.
The petition highlighted that the lack of present-day assessment of the number and essential needs of migrant children, infants and pregnant and lactating women of migrant families has aggravated their vulnerabilities during the lockdown.
The bench was informed that the reply has not been filed by the states yet, after which it posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari submitted, “By then, the states may be asked to inform about the number of migrant children in respective state and about the condition and the services being provided to them.”
The Tamil Nadu government submitted its reply in the matter, stating, “The Migrant Labourers were provided 5 kg rice per person per month free of cost from May to August 2020 and one kg of whole chana per household per month from May to August 2020. Despite the closure of Anganwadi centres in view of Covid-19 pandemic, the beneficiaries, including children of migrant families, are provided with taking Home Ration (THR) and dry ration, in lieu of the Mid-Day Meal as supplementary nutrition at their doorstep,” it added.
The bench directed the rest of the states to file a reply and comply with the submission made by Kothari.