Supreme Court: A bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, JJ on Friday issued a notice to the Central government on a petition seeking to immediately evacuate and providing all possible medical help to the Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran’s Qom. The notice was issued after hearing the matter and argument through videoconferencing.
The petition was filed by one Mustafa MH, through advocate Sanjay Hegde.
This comes as all international passenger flight operations are closed till April 14 in the wake of the three-week nationwide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The petition stated that these citizens are pilgrims, most of whom are from poor financial backgrounds, and had travelled to Iran and were scheduled to return weeks ago. However, in view of the aggravating CoVID-19 situation there, they are stranded in Qom, Iran without any health/medical facilities and food supplies.
It said that these Indian citizens stranded in Iranhave been accommodated in hotel rooms in groups of four or five. It is important to note that the situation of the spread of COVID-19 is extremely critical in Iran. In fact, there may be as many as 250 people within the group of the aforesaid pilgrims who could be positive for Corona, the petition said.
The plea also sought directions for the issuance of appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India (UoI), herein to immediately evacuate all the stranded pilgrims from the city of Qom in Iran.
“Till such time as the requisite arrangements are made for the evacuation of such passengers, the UOI be directed to provide adequate health and medical support to the Indian citizens stranded in Iran,”
The petition said that in such situations, the top court should pass a direction to the UOI to ensure that the passengers are quarantined in the manner prescribed by the World Health Organization.