The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre in a plea seeking directions to the government for bringing back workers from the Gulf.
Filed by the President of Gulf Telangana Welfare and Cultural Association Pathkuri Basanth Reddy seeks directions to set up a mechanism to bring back Indian workers who have lost their passports in Gulf countries and implement policies framed for their welfare.
A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose issued notice on the petition and sought response from the Centre, states as well as the CBI on the plea which urges the Court for issuance of directions to assist Indians in Gulf countries financially and legally for their rehabilitation.
The plea highlights that around 44 Indians are facing death sentences and 33,940 Indian workers have died in the past six years in the Gulf countries.
The petitioner association avers that when the workers are sent to Gulf countries by agents, "their salary is very low, payment of salary is not done, some of them were sold by the agents and there is no life security."
The plea states that many Indians have found themselves in adverse circumstances and have been compelled to become slaves and bonded labourers on account of being cheated by travel agents.
"Due to the adverse circumstances many of them are compelled to become slaves, bonded. There are many incidents of people sent through agents sold out to locals. Women workers are harassed and forced to become sex workers. In some cases women workers were beaten and locked up in houses" - Excerpt of Plea
In this context, the petition states that Indian embassies must work proactively and adopt effective measures to bring back those workers who are suffering the other countries through exchange programs and good will gestures.
"A large number of Indians from the respondent States are going/gone to the Gulf and other countries for doing jobs as labour, drivers, helpers, salespersons, domestic workers etc. Most of the workers are uneducated or under-educated," the plea reads.
The PIL has also claimed that women workers in foreign countries are forced to become sex workers while in some cases women workers were beaten and locked up in houses.
Apropos this, the plea urges the court to frame guidelines and set up a grievance redressal cell to bring back the dead bodies of Indian citizens who have died abroad and to give financial aid/insurance and legal aid to the families of the deceased.