The Supreme Court again on Monday pushed for the registration of the migrant workers, stressing it won’t order cash transfers since it falls in the category of a policy decision, but benefits can be extended to them if they are registered.
A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah expressed concern over the Centre and the state sovernments just not worried about the plight of the migrant workers as the process of their registration ordered by it on July 31 last year has been woefully slow.
“The Centre and states must expedite registration of migrant workers and those working in the unorganised sectors. Not only migrant worker should approach the government for registration, the governments must approach them for getting them registered,” the Bench said.
In a suo motu plea on “problems and miseries of migrant labourers” registered in June 2020 by converting a PIL writ petition. It said the governments could extend benefits to migrant workers, who lost employment during the Covid-19 pandemic, only when they are registered.
Justice Shah wondered how illiterate people from a downtrodden section of society can be expected to register online. State agencies must go to them for registration. It is for the state machinery to reach and register them, the court said, adding, the authorities must approach the employers, contractors and builders in the construction industry to share details about workers they otherwise hold back. The SC also sought the Centre’s reply on pleas seeking ex gratia relief of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the Covid dead.