The Madras High Court on Wednesday observed that the State cannot be ungrateful to the migrant workers having extracted work from them and directed it to provide food and shelter for the stranded labourers "on a war-footing."
Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan submitted that comprehensive directions have been given by the Supreme Court and the same is being followed.
The migrant labourers are not charged even for train travel as per the apex court order, the ASG said and sought time to file a comprehensive report and counter in the matter.
Petitioner-advocate AP Suryaprakasam submitted that thousands of migrant labourers are without food and shelter and they are loitering in the railway stations and so, they should be provided with food, shelter and medical facilities.
The petitioner has filed a habeas corpus petition seeking a direction to produce Ilayaraja and 400 others who have allegedly been illegally detained by the Superintendent of Police, Sangli, Maharashtra.
When the matter came up for hearing today through video conference, a division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and Justice R Hemalatha said: "It is the duty of the State to see that every migrant worker is provided with adequate food, drinking water, shelter and medical facilities. Having extracted work from the migrant labourers, State cannot be ungrateful.
"Hence, the State Government is directed to identify the migrant labourers who are without food, shelter and medical facilities and provide the same to them on war-footing basis and file a report in the next hearing."
The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to June 8.
Last month, when the case came up, the division bench observed that though the central and state governments have taken care of every section of the society to the maximum extent possible, the guest workers and agricultural workforce were neglected.
While referring to the sufferings of the migrant workers, the court said, "..one cannot control his/her tears after seeing the pathetic condition of migrant labourers shown in the media for the past one month.It is nothing but a human tragedy..."
It then asked the Central and state governments to file a detailed report on such stranded guest workers.