1. JUNE 12, 2020: Establishment owners and workers to negotiate on payment of wages and settle differences within themselves.
While observing the necessity of workers in any industry, the three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court urged the establishment owners and workers to negotiate on payment of wages and settle differences within themselves. The Court had questioned the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs to compel employers to pay full wages to the workers by its notification dated May 29, 2020.
On June 12, the Court while holding that no coercive action shall be taken against the employers on non-payment of full wages during the national lockdown, issued directions for holding negotiations between the parties.
- MHA shall finalise a date for conciliation and settlement and guidelines for participation of employees for effectuating their settlement with the workers may be publicised for the benefit of all employers and workers.
- State Government are required to facilitate such settlements and furnish reports to the respective labour commissioners.
- The workers willing to work shall be allowed to work irrespective of their disputes regarding wages.
2. JUNE 11, 2020:Lack of care and concern towards Covid affected dead bodies by State Governments.
On June 11, The Chief Justice of India took Suo moto cognizance of the matter on receipt of a letter by Former Union Law minister Ashwini Kumar stressing upon the plight of patients and dead bodies of Covid-19 victims in hospitals by pointing out the specific incidents of their ill treatment in Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry. He also emphasized that a person’s right to die with dignity is a fundamental right and it includes the right to a decent burial or cremation.
A three-judge Bench on June 12, 2020 observed the lack of care and concern towards Covid affected dead bodies by State Governments and described the situation as deplorable and worse than what animals would have to suffer. In lieu of the same, the Court issued notice to the Delhi Government and Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital seeking a reply regarding the issue. Also, the Chief Secretaries of States were asked to furnish a report on the status of patient management system.
The Court stated that it is a duty of the State Governments to undertake measures for providing adequate infrastructure in hospitals and also that Covid-19 patients are attended to by health workers.
3. JUNE 11, 2020: States to supply information through a questionnaire regarding measures taken for care and protection in children protection and foster homes.
Suo Motu cognizance taken by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Courtled by Justice Nageshwara Rao, seeking reply of the Tamil Nadu government regarding the spread of Coronavirus among 35 children in a government-run child care home in Royapuram, Chennai even after court’s orders to provide protection and care in children protection and foster homes.
The State has been directed by the Court to report on the status of the affected and non-affected children and the measures taken by it to prevent the spread of the virus. Also, the State’s health secretary has been ordered to furnish a report stating reasons for lack in care and caution on part of the State.
In addition to this, the Court also directed the State Government and the Juvenile Justice Committees of the states to supply information in relation to measures taken for care and protection of children in conflict of the law, through a questionnaire circulated by the Court, before June 30, 2020.
4. JUNE 9, 2020: States to identify stranded migrant labourers and consider withdrawal all case against them for lockdown violations.
Headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2020 had initiated Suo-motu proceedings after receiving vocal criticism from former judges and senior advocates regarding the Supreme Court’s passivity and unwillingness in respect to the issue of migrant workers. The Court observed inadequacies and lapses on behalf of the Centre and States in dealing with the Migrant worker’s crisis.
Hence, on June 9, 2020 the top court issued a number of directions in the matter:
- States and the UTs to identify the stranded migrant workers and transport them home within the next 15 days.
- The Railways shall provide 171 Shramik trains within the next 24 hours for the transportation of migrant workers.
- Director General of Police shall direct the personnel to treat Migrant workers in a humane manner.
- State and the UTs to consider withdrawal of complaints under Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act and other related offences lodged against migrant labourers for violation of lockdown measures.
- States and the UTs to make provisions for employment and welfare schemes and spread awareness to ensure maximum coverage and accessibility of such schemes.
- Counselling centers and help desks shall be set upin village and block for their rehabilitation and assistance if they wish to return to their place of work.
5. JUNE 9, 2020: Government of Maharashtra to be more vigilant in dealing with migrant worker’s crisis.
The Supreme Court observed that the State Government’s request of only one train from the railways when it has submitted to have around 37,000 stranded workers, displays itsincompetenceto manage the workers. There have been huge lapses in identification, transportation and care of the migrant workers causing great miseries and hardship to them.
In view of the same, the three-judge Bench directed the State Governments, specifically Government of Maharashtra to make concerted and vigilant efforts to handle the issues of migrant workers. The State Supervisory Committee and District Supervisory Committee under the authority of the State Government, should publicize places set up for identification and registration of the migrant workers who are willing to goto their native places buthaven’t been provided any conveyance to travel.
Also, the Governments shall ensure there is proper arrangement for food and shelter for these migrant workers.
6. JUNE 5, 2020: Private Hospital willing to undertake treatment at concessional rates?
The Apex Court in view to lighten the financial burden and provide an affordable treatmentof the citizens, questioned the private hospitals if they are ready to treat Covid-19 infected patients at subsidised rates specifiedunder the Ayushman Bharat schemewhich provides health cover to poor and vulnerable persons. Also, the Court asked private hospitalswhich have been given land at concessional rates by the Government to treat a certain number of patients for free.
7. June 5, 2020: Plea on capping on treatment cost in private hospitals.
In a petition filed against private hospitals being inaccessible due to extraordinarily high fees for Covid-19 treatment, the Supreme Court sought response of the government in regard to capping treatment cost charged by hospitals. The Centre informed that there is no statutory power to direct private hospitals to provide free treatment but the state governments are empowered to make such policies.