The United Nurses Association has moved the Kerala High Court against the "invisible travel ban" imposed upon the Indian citizens stranded abroad, due to conflicting orders passed by the Kerala Government and the Governments of foreign jurisdictions, on Covid testing.
It is the case of the Petitioners that they had arranged a chartered flight from Riyadh, to bring back Indian citizens. However, the exercise has been rendered futile due to the order dated June 11, 2020 passed by the Kerala Government, mandating the passengers to test for COVID-19 prior to their arrival to the State of Kerala and to carry certificates stating negative results.
It is pointed out that the same is not possible as the Governments in foreign jurisdiction have refused to conduct Covid tests on persons, except in case where they exhibit 80% symptoms.
"The Government (Foreign Government in this context) will have to give priority to life-saving needs rather than attend to the needs of those who wish to travel back to their homelands," the Petitioner quoted the Foreign Governments.
In these circumstances the Petitioner says it has stumbled upon a condition which is impossible to satisfy, for no fault of theirs.
The Petitioner has argued,
"making Covid-19 tests mandatory to travel to India is unfair and arbitrary in the light of the fact that each country that a non-resident Indian travels from has its own guidelines to present a person for testing, which makes it impossible for the Indian passengers travelling to Kerala to comply with such a mandate."
It is contended that the mandate of testing an asymptomatic person prior to his travel does not provide for any results as the incubation period for COVID-19 is 28 days and an affected person he is expected to show symptoms in 14 days.
It is further submitted that the prospective passengers include new born babies who were born in UAE only due to the fact that their parents were unable to travel to India at the time of delivery.
Due to the same, the Petitioner pointed out, these neonatal have not been able to register their births either with India or with the Foreign Country, owing to inability to meet the procedural requirements.
"Testing of these neonatal children having no certificate of birth is also not possible," the plea states.
The Petitioner-organization has therefore, in order to protect the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of the nurses, sought for a direction to the State of Kerala to withdraw the order dated June 11, 2020.
It has also prayed that the Government be directed to arrange for Covid-19 testing upon the passengers' arrival into Kerala, at nominal rates.
In the interim, the Petitioner has sought that the chartered flights arranged by them, scheduled to take off from Riyadh on June 20 and June 21, be exempted from the Govt order.
The Petitioner will be represented by Advocates Sriram Parakkat, KR Sripathi and Anupama Subramanian.
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