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SC to Centre on migrants: Who paid for ticket, food and ensured they didn't go hungry?
SC to Centre on migrants: Who paid for ticket, food and ensured they didn't go hungry?

New Delhi, May 28 (TIWN) The Supreme Court on Thursday put three questions to the Centre on the plight of migrant workers during the lockdown: did the migrants pay for their ticket, who paid for their food on trains and who is ensuring that migrants are not hungry?

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah queried the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. "You still haven't informed us who is paying for their ticket."  Mehta replied that either it is the sending state or receiving state, as there is an interstate agreement. The bench queried further: "What about the states? How are the migrants supposed to get reimbursement? Migrants would not know which state has to pay."  The bench said migrants may not know how to get reimbursement from a state or about the available transport. "There needs to be a uniform policy", added the bench.  The court observed that if the mechanism is different for all states (in certain scenarios the originating state will pay, in others the receiving state will pay), then it will create confusion. Mehta responded it depends on how many migrants are in question.

"It has all been decided between the states", he added.  Justice Kaul asked Mehta: "How do you ensure that nobody asks the migrants to pay or troubles him? What we are saying is that the migrants should be least concerned with the means of payment", added the bench.  The bench asked what is the normal time, after identification, to send back migrant workers -- a week or 10 days? It said no state should decline from accepting migrant workers. "No state should say no, no, don't come or we will not take you", noted the bench, insisting on a policy on the issue.

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