The Delhi High Court today directed the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure welfare and safety of around 300 Indian students stranded at Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan for the past 2-3 days without food and medical aid due to coronavirus pandemic.
A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, which conducted the hearing through video conferencing, asked the authorities to expeditiously provide the students basic amenities and assistance with regard to food, medical care, lodging and transportation.
The hearing was conducted through video conferencing. The two judges joined from their homes while advocate Fozia Rahman, who appeared for the petitioner, and central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh, who represented the MEA, were at their offices.
Ms Rahman informed the court that 300 Indian students, who are enrolled for higher studies, including MBBS, at Semey Medical University in Kazakhstan are stranded at the Almaty Airport without food, water, transportation and medical aid.
The petition was filed by Sehla Saira, mother of one of the stranded students.
The court issued notice to the Centre through MEA and granted time to file response to the petition.
"Let this bench be apprised of the brief response/reply on March 28," the court said in its three-page order," it said.
"In the meantime...in view of the unsettled and difficult situation -- emerging from the global COVID-19 pandemic -- in which Indian students find themselves stranded at the Almaty Airport, Kazakhstan, we find it incumbent upon us to direct the Ministry of External Affairs, government of India, to promptly appoint a nodal officer from the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan to ensure, inter alia, the welfare, well-being and safety of all such Indian students," the bench said.
It also directed the nodal officer to expeditiously facilitate, secure and provide these students will all basic amenities and humanitarian assistance.
The court said the details of the nodal officer, including his name and telephone number, be communicated to the Indian students stranded at the Almaty Airport and be also uploaded on website of Indian Embassy at Kazakhstan and on the website of MEA immediately.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on March 28.