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A. Mallikarjuna v/s Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, Disaster Management Division, Represented by its Secretary & Others


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    Writ Petition No. 6693 of 2020 (GM-RES-PIL)

    Decided On, 21 April 2020

    At, High Court of Karnataka

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. ABHAY S. OKA & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE B.V. NAGARATHNA

    For the Petitioner: A. Mallikarjuna, Party In Person. For the Respondents: R1, M.B. Nargund, Additional Solicitor General along with M.N. Kumar, CGC, R2 to R4, M. Dhyam Chinnappa, Additional Advocate General, Vikram Huilgol, AGA.



Judgment Text


(Prayer: This Writ petition is filed Under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, praying to issue a Writ of Mandamus Directing the respondents to screen all the Migrant Laborers, both interstate and intra State for Covid-19, who ever are willing to go back to their home towns and see that all negative tested cases be dropped to their home towns using the State or Central Transporting Facility without charging anything, without any further delay and etc.)

Abhay S. Oka, CJ.

1. We have heard the petitioner appearing in person. The only prayer made in this petition reads thus:

"Issue a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents, to screen all the migrant laborers, both interstate and intra state for COVID-19, who ever are willing to go back to their home towns and see that all negative tested cases be dropped to their home towns using the State or Central transporting facility without charging anything, without any further delay."

2. On 29th March 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has issued a direction that the migrant people who have moved out to reach their home states/home towns must be kept in the nearest shelter by the respective State/Union Territory Governments. The further direction issued is to provide quarantine facilities after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days as per the standard health protocol. There is also a direction issued to the State/Union Territory Governments to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for providing temporary shelters and provision of food for the poor and needy people, including the migrant labourers stranded due to lockdown measures in the respective areas.

3. The petitioner appearing in person relies upon the Standard Operating System issued by the Central Government on 19th April 2020 for movement of the stranded labour which provides that in case of a group of migrants who wish to return to their places of work within the State where they are presently located, they should be screened and those who are asymptomatic should be transported to their respective places of work. The submission of the petitioner appearing in person is that if a labourer who is asymptomatic can be permitted to be transported to his place of work, there is no reason why he should be denied of an opportunity to go back to his house. He submitted that the act of placing the migrant workers in quarantine or in the shelters completely violates the fundamental rights of the migrant workers under the Constitution of India. He submitted that the fundamental rights of the migrants cannot be violated by detaining them in the shelters or in quarantine facilities and therefore, neither the Government nor the Courts can prevent the migrant workers from reaching their respective homes. Lastly, he submitted that the migrants cannot be put in quarantine or shelters for indefinitely long period.

4. We have considered the submissions. Firstly, we must note here that the Writ Court is dealing with the extraordinary situation arising out the spread of COVID-19. Secondly, the petitioner has not challenged the order dated 29th March 2020 which enjoins the State Governments and the Union Territory Governments to ensure that the migrants who have moved out to reach their home states/home towns must be kept in the nearest shelters with quarantine facilities.

5. Though the petitioner appearing in person submits that in this petition, a challenge to the order dated 29th March 2020 should be considered, we are unable to consider the said prayer in the absence of any substantive challenge to the order dated 29th March 2020. Thirdly, in the main Writ Petition No.6435/2020 and other connected matters, this Court is dealing with the issue of providing proper shelter to the various categories of migrants, homeless and other persons belonging to the marginalized sections of the Society. This Court is also monitoring the aspect of providing adequate food to the migrants. In fact, the directions in this behalf have already been issued.

6. Fourthly, the reliance placed on the Standard Operating System issued on 19th April 2020 will not help the petitioner. The Standard Operating System provides that in the event migrants wish to return to their places of work within the State where they are presently located, they would be screened and those who are asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work. This direction ensures that the migrant workers get employment at their respective places of work wherever such work is permissible. The Standard Oper

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ating System specifically reiterates that no movement of the labourers outside the State/Union Territory from where they are currently located is permitted. 7. In view of the aforesaid reasons, we are unable to entertain this writ petition containing the prayer which we have quoted above. Grant of such a prayer will run completely contrary to the order dated 29th March 2020 of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Hence, we decline to entertain this writ petition and the same is rejected.
O R







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