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The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre in a plea seeking urgent humanitarian assistance for Indian pilgrims stranded in Qom, Iran due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The matter was taken up for urgent hearing today by a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant through video conferencing, when the Court issued notice to the Centre for evacuation of Indian pilgrims from Iran.
Iran is one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19, with a death toll of over 2000. As many as 800 Indian pilgrims are stranded in the Iranian city of Qom amid the outbreak of novel Coronavirus. These pilgrims, mainly from poor financial backgrounds, were scheduled to return to India a weeks back, according to the petition.
According to the petitioner, it is suspected that about 250 of these pilgrims may themselves be infected by the virus and it would be nothing short of a health hazard to accomodate infected persons with others. In view of the same, a direction for the Centre to urgently evacuate all the stranded persons is sought.
The Court has set the next date of hearing in the matter on Monday, March 30 while issuing notice to the Centre. It has also asked the government to provide all possible assistance to the pilgrims in the meantime.
The petitioner was represented by Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde assisted by Advocates Ashish Virmani and Harsha Gollamudi.