The Delhi High Court on Friday disposed of the plea seeking evacuation of students stranded in Kazakhstan due to the lockdown ordered in light of coronavirus pandemic.
The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh, in a hearing held via videoconferencing, asked the Indian authorities to consider the evacuation of the stranded Indian students if the same is in the latter's interests.
Ms Jasmeet Singh, who was appearing for Ministry for External Affairs, informed the court today that Mr. Martin Cyriac Clemenese, Second Secretary and Officer-in-Charge of Representative Office of India at Almaty, Kazakhstan, has been appointed as the Nodal Officer for all Indian students in Kazakhstan and all his necessary details and particulars have been uploaded on the official website of the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan, as well as, on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
The Petitioner's Counsel Fozia Rahman also informed that the help has reached to the students after the interim relief was granted by the Court and a Nodal Officer is also appointed.
Further, it was submitted that as per the court's previous direction dated 25/03/20, a total of 115 students who were stranded at Almaty Airport, Kazakhstan, have been provided with boarding (food), lodging and medical assistance etc.
Ms Singh further went on to submit that in view of the complete lockdown, ordered by the Government of Kazakhstan, it is not possible at this point in time to transport the Indian students back to their hostel accommodation at Semey Medical University in Kazakhstan.
Moreover, in light of the complete flying ban imposed by the Indian government, the students also cannot be brought back to India.
However, she assured the court, that the MEA will continue to ensure and secure the welfare, well-being and safety of Indian students and provide them with all the basic amenities, in terms of boarding (food), lodging and medical care, as is being done currently, till the situation improves.
While accessing the status report, the court expressed relief with regards to the fact that none of the stranded students are tested positive for COVID19.
Since the Petitioner pressed no other relief with regards to the stranded students, the court disposed off petition after taking the status report into consideration.
However, the court did ask the Indian authorities to consider the evacuation of these students if it is in the latter's interest to do so.
In the previous order, the court had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to promptly appoint a Nodal Officer from the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan to ensure the welfare , well-being and safety of Indian students stranded at Almaty Airport, Kazakhstan since the last 2-3 days.
The said direction was given to expeditiously "facilitate, secure and provide the said students with all basic amenities and humanitarian assistance in term of medical care, boarding, food, lodging and transportation, as may be necessary or warranted".