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Supreme Court expresses happiness over steps taken by Centre to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine

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The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its happiness over the steps taken by the Centre for evacuation of Indian students stranded in the war-torn country of Ukraine. 

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed the Court that he has spoken to Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra over the situation and said that the petitioner, along with others, will be in India today evening or tomorrow morning. 

“We personally thank you Mr AG for this step,” said CJI Ramana. 

Senior Advocate A.M. Dar also thanked the AG for the efforts and said all students will be in India soon. 

The CJI asked about the status of all other Indian citizens in Ukraine. 

The AG replied that the Government of India is taking all steps to evacuate the Indian citizens. It’s swiftly evacuating, thousands of citizens have already been evacuated. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a cabinet meeting to have further evacuation and all being taken care of by the Government at its utmost level. He further informed the bench that there are large number of petitions being filed across the country as a similar petition was filed in the Rajasthan High Court. 

Chief Justice Ramana asked the AG to apprise the High Courts that the Supreme Court is seized of the matter and the High Courts need not to hear this. He further asked the AG for an online helpline for parents and students at a Central level. 

“The Centre is as concerned as your lordship,” replied the AG. 

“We are not saying a single word about the Centre. We appreciate, but we are concerned about these students,” observed the Bench. 

The matter willd now be heard on next Friday. 

The Court was hearing plea seeking direction to the Centre to evacuate the Indian students stranded on Russian border in the middle of war between Russia and Ukraine, without food and water.

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The petition sought directions for the protection of life and liberty of the petitioner and other stranded students during the present Russia and Ukraine conflict, and directing the Respondent to secure permission to cross the check point in Moldova from Ukraine en route to Romania for boarding the Air India evacuation flight.

It further sought directions to the Centre to take immediate and effective diplomatic steps and measures for the evacuation of the petitioner and other stranded students from Ukraine to India and a further direction to the Respondent to ensure the essential and emergency supplies like medical, housing and lodging facilities and supply of food and other essential necessities to the petitioner.

That, the Petitioner along with 250 other stranded students from National Medical University in Odessa, Ukraine have sought the intervention of the Respondent to secure permission to cross the check point in Moldova from Ukraine en route to Romania for boarding the Air India evacuation flight. The Petitioner along with other students have at their own arranged buses to reach Moldovan border, wherefrom she is still to travel at least 10 Hours to reach to Romania. However, the Respondent has miserably failed to provide any kind of assistance for facilitating crossing of Moldova border. It is apt to mention here that the temperature at Moldovan border is -7 degrees and the Petitioner along with other students are left stranded in the freezing cold, without shelter, food, water and money. Moreover, it is learnt that those who have already reached Romania for boarding the evacuation flight on February 26, 2022, are still waiting for response from the Respondent, as there were very less flights operating, which was matter of great concern, as even if the petitioner reached Romania, there was no certainty that she would be able to board the evacuation flight.

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The plea has sought directions:- 

A) Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ or

direction thereby directing the Respondent to

secure permission for the Petitioner to cross the check point in Moldova from Ukraine enroute to Romania for boarding the Air India evacuation flight, and/or;

B) Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ or direction thereby directing the Respondents to immediately take effective diplomatic steps and measures for the evacuation of the Petitioner including other stranded students from Ukraine to India,and/or;

C) Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ or direction thereby directing the Respondent to ensure the essential and emergency supplies like medical, housing and lodging facilities and supply of food and other essential necessities to the Petitioner.

D) Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ or direction thereby directing the Respondent to ensure protection of life and liberty of the Petitioner and other stranded students during the present Russia and Ukraine conflict. 

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