Fundamental rights of migrant workers are not being enforced : Prasant Bhusan…

New Delhi(Special Opinion)This institution is not hostage of government,” the Supreme Court said Monday as it sought reply from the Centre on a plea seeking direction to authorities to allow migrant workers across the country to return home after conducting coronavirus tests.The top court’s remark came after advocate Prashant Bhushan told the court that the government’s view is being blindly considered without verifying it, while fundamental rights of people especially migrant workers are not being enforced.A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai questioned Bhushan, appearing for petitioners Jagdeep S Chhokar, former director in-charge of IIM, Ahmedabad, and lawyer Gaurav Jain. The bench asked why should the court hear them if they do not have faith in the system. Bhushan said that this is an institution created by Constitution but the fundamental rights are being violated of these migrant workers and I am entitled express by anguish. The bench told Bhushan, “You don’t have faith in judiciary. This institution is not hostage of government.”Clarifying that he never said that he has no faith in this system, Bhushan added he could be wrong but similar opinion is expressed by some retired judges.The bench told Bhusan that he claims to be practicing in the apex court for past 30 years. Then he must know that some orders are favourable and some are not and therefore he should not say such things.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre told Bhushan that he should not be under the impression that he is the only one who is concerned with enforcement of fundamental rights. He said the government is very much concerned with the issue and trying to provide all possible help to migrant workers. Bhushan said that if there was any objection with regard to his appearance as a lawyer in the case, then he was willing to withdraw from the matter and some other lawyer will appear. The bench said that it had never asked him to withdraw from the matter. He said that more than 90 per cent migrant workers have not received the ration or wages; they are in desperate situation and should be allowed to go to their native places. Mehta however said that these are incorrect reports and questioned the basis of the data given by the petitioners.

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