Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva and Navin Chawla, JJ. while addressing the present petition and the status report of ministry of External Affairs, noted that,
“in the present lockdown situation it is not possible for Ministry to organise any evacuation of Indian National from any country.”
Petitioner sought direction to respondent, Government of India to evacuate petitioner’s son who is a student in Edinburgh, Scotland to India and to ensure that he is provided with all medical facilities.
Earlier, when the petition was listed, Counsel for the petitioner had submitted that students in Edinburgh who were stranded were facing great difficulty as no officer had contacted them also were not given any emergency number.
On 30-03-2020, petitioner’s son had received an email from Consulate General but no physical help on the ground reached to him.
Ministry of External Affairs stated that a 24×7 helpline was established to address the queries of Indian Students and Indian Community abroad.
Adding to above, it was stated that ,Government of India along with the Government of United Kingdom have actively disseminated, through website and social media platforms, necessary information to all citizens of India.
Further it has been submitted that an officer of Consulate General of India, Edinburgh personally contacted the petitioner’s son with all the necessary information.
“overseas visitors to Scotland, regardless of their residency status are exempt from NHS charges for both diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).”
Further, MEA’s status reported informed that petitioner’s son informed that he wasn’t facing any health issues and was primarily concerned with regard to coming back to India.
He has also been advised to register with High Commission of India at London so that necessary updates and travel advisories could be shared with him.
Further he informed that there is shortage of sanitizers and masks and he has been unable to acquire the same.
Central Government Standing Counsel submitted that efforts are being made by the Consulate General of India to procure and provide the same as soon as possible.
Status report of MEA also stated that,
“Indian National Students Association (UK) and the High Commission of India are working closely to address the specific issues of Indian students across UK during COVID crisis.”
With regard to evacuation of petitioner’s son, in the present lockdown situation it is not possible for Ministry to organise any evacuation of Indian National from any country at the present stage.
Thus in view of the assurance given with all possible necessary help to provided to the Indian Students who are stranded abroad, petition is accordingly disposed. [Ramesh Chander Goyal v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 496, decided on 03-04-2020]