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Indian Students staying abroad do not have to face any trouble: Centre informed DelhiHC

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The Delhi High Court on Friday disposes off the petition seeking direction to Government of India to evacuate son of petitioner from Edinburgh, Scotland and to ensure that he is provided all medical facilities, if required.

Centre informed the Court through its status report that in the present lockdown situation it is not possible for the Ministry to organize any evacuation of Indian Nationals from any Country.

It is also stated in the status report that there are few volunteers in Edinburgh who have offered help in case of necessity. The Consulate General of India at Edinburgh is working to help the stranded Indians through student’s associations, community groups and individuals by providing all possible assistance in the form of accommodation, food etc. to all Indian citizen in Scotland. The Indian National Students Association (UK) and the High Commission of India are working closely to address the specific issues of Indian Students across UK during COVID crisis. That Indian Government has taken pro active steps to ensure that all citizens of India particularly students who are residing abroad do not face any problem and all possible necessary steps are being taken.

A division bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva and Justice Navin Chawla said, “In view of the status report and the assurance given that all possible necessary help shall be provided to all Indian Students who are stranded abroad, we feel that no further orders are called for in this petition. The petition is accordingly disposed of. Liberty is granted to petitioner to approach this Court again in future if the need so arises.”

Court was hearing a petition filed by Ramesh Chander Goyal seeking evacuation of his son from Edinburgh, Scotland to India. Pursuant to the consolidated travel advisory issued by the Government of India, son of the petitioner not been able to travel back to India. On the previous hearing petitioner had contended that the students in Edinburgh, who were stranded there, facing great difficulty as they had not been contacted by any officer and were also not aware as to who to contact in case of any emergency. Following which the Court had issued Notice to Ministry of External Affairs and directed it to file the Status report.

Mr. Amit Mahajan, Central Government Standing Counsel, has by his email, filed the status report of the Ministry of External Affairs. It is stated by the Ministry of External Affairs that a 24×7 helpline has been established to address the queries by Indian students and the Indian Community abroad. It is stated that the Government of India along with the Government of United Kingdom have actively disseminated, through website and social media platforms, necessary information to all citizens of India.

It is stated that an officer of the Consulate General of India, Edinburgh had personally contacted the son of the petitioner through telephone and he has been provided with the necessary information regarding helpline numbers, emergency telephone numbers, website, email and social media links of the High Commission of India at London and Consulate General of India, Edinburgh. He has also been informed that the overseas visitors to Scotland, regardless of their residency status are exempt from NHS charges for both diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Links regarding the health care for overseas visitors and for refugee and asylum seekers were also shared.

It is pointed out that two Indian stores are located within walking distance from where he is staying besides their being other supermarkets where, as per the information received, there is sufficient supply of food items and no shortage of food items has been reported so far. Son of the petitioner has been advised to register with the High Commission of India at London so that necessary updates and travel advisories could be shared with him. Emergency number of an officer of the Consulate General of Edinburgh has been shared with him and he has been advised to contact him in case of any emergency.

Mr. Mahajan, learned Central Government Standing Counsel submits that there is shortage of masks and sanitizers in Scotland and UK and even the Consulate has not been able to procure the same from the market. However, efforts are being made by the Consulate General of India to procure and provide the same as soon as possible.

-India Legal Bureau

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