Case Title: Biju KB vs The District Collector and Chairman of the Agricultural Urban Wholesale Market & Ors
The single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandra of Kerala high court expressed his views while examining a petition of a headload worker employed at the Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Board’s. Justice said, most Malayalis are hesitant to do hard labour due to their egos and it is because of migrant workers that a lot of work is getting done in Kerala.
“Malayalis are unwilling to work due to their ego. I am not against migrant workers. It is because of them we are surviving”.
During the hearing, the Court inquired about the authorization of migrant workers to occupy the area. However, the judge emphasized that the Court held no opposition towards migrant laborers, given their essential contribution to the state of Kerala.
According to headload worker, the traders at the Agricultural Urban Wholesale Market were hiring migrant laborers without adhering to the regulations outlined in the Inter-State Migrant Workmen.
It was argued that the traders have erected additional dwellings within the market premises to accommodate migrant workers, providing them with sleeping quarters, cooking facilities, and other essential amenities.
He contended that employing migrant workers without proper registration is illegal, and can potentially lead to criminal activities due to some workers’ alleged use of drugs and consumption of intoxicating liquor.
It was argued that despite certain measures taken by the District Collector and Chairman of the Agricultural Urban Wholesale Market in response to a representation by the petitioner, migrant workers continued to reside in the market.
The petitioner contended that without prompt intervention, severe incidents such as the Aluva child rape and murder case (involving a migrant laborer convicted by the trial court for the crime) may reoccur.
The bench remarked “We have had instances in the recent past, in the last 100 days, it has to be taken seriously. It should never happen again. There are many using narcotic drugs. You have to be very careful”
The High Court subsequently ordered the government pleader to update the court on whether any measures have been taken to address the concerns raised by the petitioner within three weeks.
“Under what authority are these people occupying this area, any idea? I am not against them (migrant workers) at all. Where will they stay if we remove them? You tell me what has to be done. Let’s not (treat this issue as) adversarial. You tell me what steps have you taken. Three weeks to file statements and counter pleadings,” the Court said.
The Court has instructed the District Collector and the Chairman of the Agricultural Urban Wholesale Market to investigate the accusations brought forward by the petitioner and present their findings to the Court.