The three-member Supreme Court (SC) bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, and Justices LN Rao and MM Shantanagouder, while hearing two separate public interest litigations (PILs) on the evacuation of students stuck in the United Kingdom (UK) because of the ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), observed on Monday that “there are 50,000 students stuck there. How will you get them back?”
“The numbers are many. Stay where you are. People in other countries cannot be brought back,” the bench said.
Advocate Madhurima Mridul has filed one of the PILs, while CM Jayarajan filed the other. The SC adjourned the hearing of both these PILs by four weeks after the petitioners refused to withdraw them claiming the government needs to put in place a mechanism to ensure the safety of stranded Indian students in the UK.
The British authorities had issued around 20,000 education visas to Indian students last year.
A similar plea for the evacuation of stranded Indian workers from the Persian Gulf countries was also adjourned by four weeks.
EVACUATION FROM US, IRAN
The SC bench decided to hear on April 20 the petitions demanding the evacuation of Indian students from the United States (US) and Indian fishermen stuck in Iran due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior advocate Vibha Dutta Makhija has filed the plea regarding stranded Indian students in the US. The petition stated that the visas of most of these students would expire by Tuesday (April 15) and they were liable to be declared aliens by the US authorities.
The Centre told the SC that in this scenario, countries across the world are extending visas. The apex court asked the Centre to submit a status report regarding stranded Indian students in the US, and will hear the matter on April 20.
On a separate petition filed on behalf of Indian fishermen stuck in Iran, the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, sought a copy of the plea, which will also be heard on April 20.
The petition claimed that around 860 Indian fishermen, mostly from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Gujarat, are stranded on the shores of Bandar-e-Moqam and Lavan Island in Iran’s Hormozgan province.