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Kerala HC seeks Centre’s response on evacuation of Indian Citizens from UAE amid COVID-19

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The Kerala High Court directed Centre to file its response on plea seeking directions to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to grant permission for chartered flights to operate aircrafts from UAE to India, to evacuate the Indian Citizens stranded in UAE.

A division bench of the Kerala HC comprising Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issed the order on the plea filed by an Indian origin NGO named Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, Dubai pleading that the petition is of utmost urgency since many of the Indian citizens stranded in UAE are on Tourist Visas or on transit visas and have already expired their permitted period of stay.

The petitioner had written a letter addressed to Consulate General of India in Dubai who has acknowledged the said fact and also has stated that the Indian embassy in UAE is awaiting permission from New Delhi. Moreover a representation has also been made to the Ministry of External Affairs and Chief Minister of Kerala, however no  positive action has been taken so far.

The petitioners have made it clear that they are not seeking permission for a direction to Union of India to operate a chartered flight to stranded citizens because emirates airlines which is the official Airline of Dubai Government has expressed its willingness to operate flights to India to evacuate the stranded Indian citizens subject to getting permission from the Indian Government.

The petitioners have sumitted that “It had come out in news that Air India had operated flights from various situations in India including cochin to evacuate the stranded German citizens back to Germany. It had also come in news that Government of Oman has chartered a flight to take their citizens back to their country. The directions prayed here is also on similar lines that the stranded citizens of India may be brought back from UAE.”

Further the petitioners have submitted that that strict conditions may be imposed for eligibility of persons who could travel to India as also the quarantine conditions to be imposed on arrival in India. Moreover many Indian citizens in labour camps in UAE are suffering because of non employment and non availability of basic needs and Article 21 of Constitution of India demands that such citizens be brought back to their county to alleviate their sufferings.

The matter would now be heard on April 17.

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