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Today, the Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to the Government of India to make arrangements in order to rescue and bring the Indian Migrants stranded in Gulf Countries.

The petitioner namely “Pravasi Legal cell” which is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, providing legal services to poor and destitute migrants, represented through its secretary “Bins Sebestian” who is working as Assistant Professor has moved the PIL before the Supreme court seeking directions to the respondent, “Union of India”, through the Secretaries of “Ministry of External Affairs”, “Ministry of Home Affairs” and “Ministry of Health and Family Welfare”.

Therefore, It is stated in the petition that there are around 9 million Indians at present employed in countries in the Gulf countries, a vast majority of who are involved in low-skilled labour, who are going through challenging times and are struggling to meet even their basic needs in dire jobless situation arising out of the COVID pandemic. It further added that several Indian migrant workers, who in the wake of lockdown in several Gulf states have been quarantined in Labour accommodation camps which are notoriously overcrowded, and lack in adequate water and sanitation which makes the workers are inevitably less able to protect themselves from the virus. Also it mentioned the Indian government failure in conducting special flights to evacuate Indian citizens stranded in various countries due to COVID19.

The petitioner also mentioned in the petition that the migrant workers in the Gulf countries are being denied treatment in the Hospitals even after testing positive for COVID 19 and are told to stay back in their house or camps itself because of increasing number of infected patients and shortage of beds in the government hospitals.

“The flagrant violation of migrant workers’ rights in the Gulf states has been documented extensively. In most of the cases, the passports and other documents of the poor migrant workers are confiscated by the employers/sponsors on arrival in the country due to which the migrant labours are rendered stateless in absence of the documents and left to suffer in this situation,” said by the petitioner.

In view of the abovementioned situation, the Chief Minister of Kerala and other Members of Parliament from Kerala have also written a letter to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister to take appropriate measures urgently to ensure adequate food, medicines, quarantine and emergency service facilities are made available to the Indian diaspora in the Gulf countries.

In the prayer, the petitioner calls for the appropriate steps to be taken by the government to rescue the Indian migrant workers stranded in the Gulf Countries and also to ensure that the migrant workers experiencing symptoms have access to timely testing and medical facilities as absence of same would result in high risk of transmission owing to the cramped conditions in which they reside. Apart from that, the government shall also ensure that adequate food, medicines, quarantine and emergency service facilities along with financial support are being provided to the migrant workers.

-India Legal Bureau

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