New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday sought response from the Centre, CBI and 12 states on a PIL seeking directions to set up a mechanism to bring back Indian workers who have lost their passports in Gulf countries and implement policies framed for their welfare.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the CBI as also Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.
Advocate Sravan Kumar, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that Indian Embassies in many cases are not working proactively and not adopting any effective measure to bring back the workers as it is being done by other countries.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Basanth Reddy Patkuri, president of Gulf Telangana Welfare and Cultural Association, who has also sought guidelines to help Indian citizens visiting other countries for employment who are cheated by agents and employer.
The plea has also sought directions to bring bodies of Indian citizens from Gulf countries and bring Indian workers who are doing forced labour or have lost their passports in Gulf countries.
It has also sought legal aid for the 44 Indians facing a death sentence and 8,189 Indian workers lodged in jails of Gulf countries.
"A large number of Indians from the respondent States are going/gone to the Gulf and other countries for doing jobs as labour, drivers, helpers, salespersons, domestic workers etc. Most of the workers are uneducated or under-educated.
"That the illegal agents send the workers on tourist visa promising job in Gulf countries but after reaching foreign countries, they were either sent back or sold to the local agents. Due to that, all the details of Indian workers are not available with the government," the plea said.
Due to the adverse circumstances, many Indian citizens are compelled to become slaves and bonded labour and there are many incidents of people sent through agents sold out to locals, the plea said.
The PIL claimed that women workers in foreign countries are forced to become sex workers while in some cases women workers were beaten and locked up in houses.