A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court seeks return of Indian migrants from Kuwait. Done through a specific direction permitting only chartered flights from the State of Kuwait to land at Indian airports. Apprising the Court of Kuwait’s decision to allow the evacuation of those who do not have valid residency permits in Kuwait, without a fine till April 30, the petition seeks repatriation of only those Indians who are beneficiaries of this amnesty.
Contentions of the Plea
The petitioner is Thomas Mathew Kadavil, a Kerala based social activist for migration rights. He submitted that expeditious evacuation of Indians stranded abroad is the need of the hour. This is due to the persistently increasing medical crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. The concerns are regarding the mental well-being of such migrants who tried to avail benefits. But they could not reach the Amnesty Felicitation Centres (AFC) on time owing to delays on part of the Indian Embassy in issuing emergency certificates.
“The said initiative allowed such people to leave the country without paying any fines. Thousands of Indian nationals surrendered to the (AFC) are kept in the temporary amnesty deportee camps since the 16th of April for their safe repatriation. Pertinently, due to the national lockdown and air travel ban, all such Indian citizens stranded in AFCs. Kuwait has been suffering severe hardships including anxiety, trauma and stress“, reads the plea.
Kadavil informs the Court of ‘wrong policies and human trafficking’. He says that around 40,000 Indians fall in the category of residency law violators. Out of which about 25,000 belong to the category of people absconding from work. Majority of the Indian citizens stranded in these camps are not getting decent food, accommodation and medical facilities.
Referring to the 2 weeks lockdown, the plea claims that these Indian migrants could be stranded indefinitely. Therefore, the Centre is urged to prepare an Evacuation Plan. The plan needs to be in sync with Clause 6 (c) of the MHA Order dated April 24, modified on May 3. The above government order permits evacuation operations without changing its stringent policy of a complete restriction on air transport services, especially international flights.
It is pursuantly informed that Kuwait has pursued India to allow a special chartered flight. But India has been declining due to its precautionary travel restrictions to combat COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of such persons, evacuation must be prioritized based on the severity of the cases.