New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to treat as representation a plea seeking repatriation of Indian citizens and migrant workers in vulnerable condition, amid Covid-19 outbreak, in detention camps or granted amnesty by Kuwait.
A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul & B.R. Gavai, took up the matter through video conferencing, observed: “There seems to be an ongoing problem in Kuwait.” The counsel for the petitioners argued that the Kuwait government has agreed to repatriate them, but there is no permission from the Centre. After making this observation, the bench disposed of the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Centre, said arrangements are being made and several parameters are being worked out. Four Indians, who have invalid residential permits and granted amnesty by Kuwait, have moved the top court. However, due to the lockdown, they were unable to return to India.
Advocate Jose Abraham, representing the petitioners, contended people were languishing in jails in Kuwait and were stranded, despite representations made earlier.
“However, due to the current lockdown which is in place and international travel restrictions due to outbreak of pandemic, COVID19, the petitioners and similarly placed expats who are beneficiaries of the general amnesty granted by Kuwait are unable to return to India and are languishing in detention camps in the State of Kuwait”, said the plea.
The counsel contended that those granted general amnesty in Kuwait were initially given time till April 30 to make arrangements to leave the country, if they fail, then they would be subjected to imprisonment. However, due to the travel restrictions, they were unable to do so.
“Even after completing technicalities, the distressed migrant workers are unable to return to India solely because of the stringent travel restrictions. These curbs will ultimately lead to imprisonment of thousands of Indian migrant workers, thereby grossly violating their basic human rights, which ought to be protected by the respondents (Centre)”, said the plea.
The plea contended that the petitioners have sent their representation to various officials including the External Affairs Minister and other officials at Indian Embassy in Kuwait. But no action has been taken to repatriate them to India.