The Delhi High Court on Monday granted the Centre two weeks time to file a counter affidavit in a petition seeking directions to the Central Government to disclose the actual information and status of the petitioner’s husband, who has been missing since 2020 from Saudi Arabia.
Advocate Bharthi Raju, appearing for the Ministry of External Affairs, submitted that MEA had received a mail from Ministry of External Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stating the petitioner’s husband had committed suicide and Meccah Police was investigating the matter.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli, upon the request of Advocate Soumya Datta, proxy counsel for the petitioner, directed MEA to file a status report.
The plea stated that the petitioner is a woman, having a dependent mother-in-law and two children, who lives in a remote village 200 km away from Kolkata. The husband of the petitioner went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on a labour visa and went missing in April 2020. The petitioner was informed by her husband’s colleagues that her husband had passed away and his body had been preserved for burial.
According to the petition, the petitioner is unable to obtain her husband’s death certificate. In the absence of a death certificate, she is unable to obtain a legal heir certificate or complete the necessary formalities to access the bank account or the assets of her husband, in order to sustain her livelihood, along with her dependents.
The petition avers that on July 20, 2020, the petitioner through her Advocate sent an e-mail to Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia apprising him of her predicament and requesting him to inform the petitioner about the status of her husband and to get him back, dead or alive.
She received a reply from the office of Consulate General of India, Jeddah on August 2, 2021 stating that her husband has gone missing and they are looking into the matter with Saudi Arabian Authorities.
The petitioner till date has not received her husband’s death certificate or any other information from the Consulate General of India, Jeddah. The writ petition has been filed through, Advocate Shubhayu Roy, who is representing the petitioner on a pro bono basis. The next date of hearing is November 8.