The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to prevent migration of people due to coronavirus and set up within 24 hours a portal for disseminating real time information on the pandemic to counter the panic being spread through fake news.
“Panic will destroy more lives than the virus”, the top court said and asked the Centre to get trained counsellors and community leaders of all faiths to calm down the migrants, who are kept in shelter homes across the country.
It said these shelters should be run by volunteers and not the police, and there should be no use of force and intimidation.
It asked the Centre to prevent migration of people and take care of their needs of food, shelter, nourishment and medical aid.
The Centre told the apex court that the suggestion by a petitioner to sprinkle water and chemicals on migrants to sanitise them does not work scientifically and is not the right way.
The top court, which refused to restrain high courts from taking up the issue of migrants, said they may monitor the issue more closely.
It, however, asked the Centre to tell government lawyers to inform high courts about the orders passed by the apex court.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, which took up two PILs on the issue of migration through video conference, asked the Centre to look into the letter petitions filed by Kerala MP from Kasaragod constituency Rajmohan Unnithan and one filed by an MP from West Bengal on the issues related to coronavirus.
The bench adjourned the hearing on the PILs to April 7, asking the Centre to ensure that duties of managing the shelter homes are entrusted to volunteers and not to the police and there should not be any use of force or intimidation.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre said that migration of people cannot be allowed at this juncture as this would enable the spread of coronavirus.
Referring to the last census, Mehta said there were about 4.14 crore persons who had migrated for work but backward migration is now happening due to coronavirus fears.