Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Division Bench of Gita Mittal, CJ and Rajesh Bindal, J., while addressing a representation with regard to the evacuation of the Indian Students from Iran due to the spread of Coronavirus, held that,
Necessary and appropriate measures required for evacuation of the Indian Students from Irna to India to be initiated.
A representation was made by Dr Zahoor Hussain Mir as a guardian of a student who is pursuing her higher studies in Iran. In the said representation, it was stated that,
“…due to sudden outbreak of COVID 19 in Iran as second epicenter in the world as all air traffic has been suspended from Iran towards other nations including India. It’s once again brought to your kind notice that there are many pilgrims. labours, and students stranded in Iran. They are facing the shortage of masks, medicines and other essential commodities due to mass closure/ shutdown by government authorities. It’s is requested that arrangements may be made to evacuate the stranded persons/students”
Another email was sent by Dr Zahoor regarding the criticality of Indian students stranded in Iran, wherein he stated that,
“…My request is to save the children studying in Iran as time is running out, they are losing hope as days are passing without any intervention by the Ministry of External Affairs to evacuate the stranded students at the earliest as was done in case of students stranded in Wuhan, China.”
High Court while concluding its decision on perusal of the above, stated that students are seeking immediate evacuation in view of the prevalent conditions in a foreign country.
Emergency conditions stand created by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) and identification of Iran as the second epicenter in the world, steps for the evacuation of the Indian Nationals including the children from the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are required to be undertaken by the respondents 1 and 3.
Bench adding to the above also stated that, upon evacuation to India, these students who may have been exposed to the infection would return to their homes in UT of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Further, it is imperative that steps are immediately taken to ensure the creation of isolation/quarantine facilities in UT of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Court also stated that the above-stated steps cannot wait for the arrival of infection and must be immediately initiated and completed.
Thus, the Court directs that,
- Respondents 1 to 3 are required through the Indian Embassy in Tehran, Iran and their offices, to ensure availability of the required materials to all Indian especially students, who are stated to be stranded there.
- to identify the protocol to be followed, examine the mode to forthwith implement the same and take steps for evacuation of the Indian students stranded in Iran.
- identify and ensure the creation of proper facilities for isolation and quarantine in the Government and private sector, testing laboratories as well
- immediate steps for acquisition of and to ensure availability in sufficient numbers and quantity of N-95 (or any other recommended) masks
- immediate steps for spreading information regarding the nature of the COVID 19 infection.
- Advocate Monika Kohli appointed as amicus curiae.
The matter is further listed on 12-03-2020. [Court on its own motion v. Nemo, WP (C) No. 5 of 2020, decided on 03-03-2020]