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The Apex Court on Tuesday rebuked the governments of Maharashtra and Delhi for failing to file affidavits before the court showing compliance with the welfare enactments for migrant workers. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah had passed an order on July 31 in a suo motu case on Covid-19 migrant worker crisis which required the states to submit an affidavit showing the implementation of Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act,1979, the Construction Workers Act, 1996 and the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
Without mincing words, the court said that the two states had the maximum number of migrant workers and yet they failed to comply with the court order which showed their lack of interest in the matter. “Although various States have filed their reply but the States of Maharashtra and NCT of Delhi have not filed their affidavits in compliance with our order dated 31.07.2020. The States of Maharashtra and Delhi are the States where maximum number of migrants have come and are working”, the court noted.
Expressing displeasure over the States’ non-compliance, the court said, “When the Court passed specific order directing States to file affidavits, the Court’s intention was to see the working of the aforesaid Acts. Non- filing of the affidavit clearly indicates that the States are not interested in implementing the aforesaid enactments”.
The Court took notice of the implementation of the welfare enactments after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) filed an application before the court highlighting non-implementation of the enactments by various states. The enactments require the States to maintain a register of the migrant labourers to facilitate the distribution of the funds allocated for their welfare. The court has granted two-weeks time to the two States to file the affidavits.