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SC takes note of Centre’s stand on helping poor during lockdown

PTI New Delhi

The Supreme Court took note of the Centre’s submission on Wednesday that it was taking steps to implement relief measures to help the poor during the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and disposed of a PIL seeking relief such as financial help and food for them.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana recorded the statement of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who explained the steps taken by the centre to address the concerns raised in the petition.
The apex court, through video conferencing, was hearing the PIL field by activist Swami Agnivesh seeking immediate relief for poor, homeless and all economically weaker sections during the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 or novel coronavirus.

It was alleged by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the activist, that the March 28 guidelines of the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare on helping people were not being fully implemented by authorities concerned.

“On the contrary, Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Union of India states that there is full monitoring and implementation of the guidelines… And it will be ensured that the concerned police authorities would also naturally follow these guidelines.

“Recording the statement made by the Solicitor General, we dispose of the instant writ petition,” said the bench which also comprised Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai.
The bench took note of Mehta’s statement that the central government was taking all steps to ensure that the benefits of relief measures reach to the poor and needy people.

The law officer said the Centre would ensure that state governments also do the needful to help the poor and its (Centre’s) day-to-day directives are being complied by them.
Gonsalves submitted however that the government should have paid wages to the migrant workers in this hour of need.
He contended that though the Centre in its affidavit has claimed that everything has been done to help people, at the ground level very few things have been done.

During the hearing, the bench said the grievance of the petitioner was that at the ground level, the administrative authorities were not implementing relief measures.
The law officer said there is no reason to “not to trust” the Centre.

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