Supreme Court Judge Justice NV Ramana on Thursday said that the “reverse migration” is the most predominant issue during pandemic caused by coronavirus and will lead to increase in “poverty”, “inequity” and “discrimination”.

Justice Ramana, who is next in seniority after the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, also said that the lockdown imposed to curb coronavirus, “affected rights of women, children and senior citizen” and need to be addressed with an  effective action plan.

“Pursuant to the lockdown, thousands of people have lost their lives and livelihood, large-scale migration has taken place. The lockdown has itself created psychological issues and violence within the family. Women have been burdened with more work; children have been unable to go to schools. Adding to that, working of home has also had its impact on family life.”

He said that pursuant to the lockdown, thousands of people have lost their lives and livelihood, and a large scale migration has taken place. “This pandemic has presented before us, multiple emerging issues. The most predominant one is that of reverse migration. Massive reverse migration will invariably lead to increase in poverty, inequity and discrimination.

The executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) said, “This pandemic has also affected rights of women, children and senior citizen. This calls for a persistent and target orientation action plan, which we all have to work out together,” he said, adding that “the future is going to be challenging. Let’s stay committed.”

Justice Ramana was giving a keynote speech while releasing a ‘Handbook of Formats: Ensuring Effective Legal Services’, prepared in collaboration with the NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, in a webinar organised by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

“Unfortunately, even though three months have passed, the situation is still not under control. Pursuant to the lockdown, thousands of people have lost their lives and livelihood, large scale migration has taken place. The lockdown has itself created psychological issues and violence within the family. Women have been burdened with more work; children have been unable to go to schools. Adding, to that working of home has also had its impact on the family life,” the judge said.

“But now we have to work with constraints,” he said.

Justice Ramana, who is also the Executive Chairman of NALSA, further said, “One of the critical areas which has come to our notice was rising violence within the family itself. We also saw increasing rise in the number of instances of child abuse. During such times, when the victims cannot reach us, it imperative for us to reach them.”

“Acknowledging the urgency of the situation we have established One Stop Centres (OSCs). Persistent efforts have been taken to provide legal assistance, through teleservices of female Panel Lawyers in every district. In other matters, petitions have been filed under the Domestic Violence Act,” he said.

He said that another focus area for the legal services authorities across the country was to ensure the reduction of over-crowding in prisons. “As per the directions of the Supreme Court, the State Legal Services Authorities have actively assisted High Powered Committees to identify and complete the necessary formalities for the release of prisoners, both undertrials and convicts, during the pandemic,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)