In the midst of the nation’s war against the novel coronavirus outbreak, fear, panic, and fake news have taken the driver’s seat. To curb the spread of non-reliable news, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 31) asked the Centre to set up a portal within 24 hours for dissemination of real-time information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The top court, which on Monday (March 30) observed that panic will destroy more lives than the virus, 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 also asked the Centre to ensure that migration is stopped and to take care of food, shelter, nourishment and medical needs of the people and also to follow up of cases of the virus, also called COVID-19.
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The Centre told the apex court that the suggestion 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 the High Courts from taking up the issue of migrants, said they may monitor the issue more closely.
It, however, asked the Centre to tell the government lawyers to inform the high courts about the orders passed by the apex court.
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A bench of Chief Justice SA 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 a MP from West Bengal on the issues related to coronavirus.
The bench asked the Centre to ensure that duties of managing the shelter homes, where migrants are being kept, are entrusted to volunteers and not to the police and there should not be any use of force or intimidation.
It asked the government that there must be adequate provisions of drinking water, food, beds and medicines in these shelters.
(With inputs from agencies)