The Supreme Court on Friday appreciated the government’s efforts in evacuating students from war-torn Ukraine and also thanked the Attorney General for taking interest in the matter. The top court also suggested the Centre explore the possibility of setting up an online helpline for students stuck in Ukraine.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli said, “It’s unfortunate, we haven’t learned from our history…human race fighting wars and killing people”.
The Chief Justice added, “And I know that conflict can be resolved by negotiation. Unfortunately, we have no say in these issues. The anxiety right now of course is to save students.”
The Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed the bench that the students from National Medical University in Odessa, Ukraine, who were stranded near the Ukraine-Romania border, have crossed over to Romania. He added that these students would be brought back Friday night by a special flight.
The AG said he had shared the details of the petitioner and others with P.K. Mishra IAS, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, who conveyed it to Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is stationed in Romania to oversee the evacuation of Indian students.
Venugopal added that he has been assured that the petitioner and other students from Odessa have crossed over to Romania and they will reach India Friday night. He said that so far 17,000 Indians have been evacuated from Ukraine.
The bench said: “We sincerely thank you AG, for taking interest in the matter.”
Senior advocate A.M. Dhar, representing the petitioner Fathima Ahana, thanked the top court for its timely intervention in the matter and also the AG for airlifting the petitioner.
The AG also informed the top court that the Prime Minister had a high-level meeting with ministers this morning to expedite the evacuation of remaining Indians from Ukraine.
The top court appreciated the government’s efforts in the matter but also pointed out the concerns of parents in connection with the safe return of their children from Ukraine. “You can set up an online helpline for parents to know (the whereabouts of their children)…you can work out something,” said the Chief Justice.
During the hearing, the AG also expressed concerns about petitions in this matter filed in various high courts. “Please leave it to the government,” said the AG, pointing at a petition filed in a high court.
The bench told the AG to inform his counsel appearing in various high courts that it has already taken up the matter and the Centre is also taking steps for evacuation of students.
“Bring it to HCs notice that we’re seized of the matter”, the Chief Justice told the AG.
The top court also pulled up advocate Vishal Tiwari for filing a PIL in the matter with newspaper clippings. The Chief Justice told Tiwari, “You know it is a sensitive issue. We can’t say anything. Don’t try to take advantage.”
The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing next Friday.
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the AG to look into a petition seeking evacuation of the Indian students stranded in war-torn Ukraine.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that his client with 250 other students from National Medical University in Odesa, Ukraine, are stranded near the Ukraine-Romania border and are facing issues crossing over to Romania. The counsel submitted that students are stranded amid freezing temperatures, and struggling to access food and water.