ON a plea filed by 18 Indian nurses and doctors stranded in Saudi Arabia, who are in their third trimester of pregnancy, the Supreme Court today directed the Central Government to examine the question of further priority in relation to the concerned petitioners and take appropriate steps to bring them back to India.
This direction follows Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s explanation to the court that as per Standard Operating Protocol (SoP) to bring back stranded persons; priority had already been given to pregnant women.
However, senior advocate Indira Jaising who appeared for the petitioners, told the court that pregnancy of all the eighteen petitioners who are stranded in Saudi Arabia is at advance stage and they needed a further priority in the priority given to the pregnant women.
In their plea, petitioners had stated that they had been running from pillar to pole to get their grievances addressed and repatriated to India in this testing times but had been unsuccessful so far with the authorities concerned being merely evasive with their answers.
“It is also submitted that there is clearly uncertainty looming as to when the international commercial aircrafts will be allowed into India. Since the Petitioners are already in their final stage of pregnancy, they may not be able to travel beyond 36th week of pregnancy due to health reasons. So, the Petitioners have to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia to India otherwise, not only them but also the unborn has to face difficulties”, petitioners said.
In the meanwhile, the Central Government on May 5, decided to bring back Indian nationals stranded outside the country. In this context, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an SoP for movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the country and of specified persons to travel abroad.
Read the order here: