Supreme Court dismisses plea for constituting “Special Purpose Fund” to financially assist NRIs under severe distress due to COVID-19 Outbreak

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A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court to initiate a “Special Purpose Fund” to help the emigrant workers and NRIs financially, as there is no sign of healthcare or welfare facilities available to them due to this Covid-19 pandemic.

This PIL was filed by Advocate Deepak Prakash and was drafted by Advocates Nachiketa Vajpayee and Divyangana Malik.

The petition demands a “Special Purpose Fund” should be considered and 15% of the amount received as “Foreign remittance” from NRIs and emigrants should be used to provide healthcare and welfare activities to them irrespective of their residence either in India or abroad.

The following reasons provided in PIL to for consideration of “Special Purpose Fund” are:

  • Deprivation of basic healthcare and welfare facilities to numerous NRIs and emigrant workers in this dreadful period of the pandemic, all over the world especially in the Gulf region.
  • They pay an indispensable contribution to the GDP of the nation through “Foreign remittance.” Out of the total amount of Rs.4,47,586 crores of remittance, 19% of it is contributed by the State of Kerala solely, settled in different parts of the world.
  • These emigrants and NRIs are deprived of financial aid for survival from their Indian missions and consulates, even after their relentless work or contribution to the economic growth of the country.
  • Due to financial crises, foreign countries are unable to provide quarantine centres or healthcare facilities to the Indian citizens. Also, there are reports regarding the spread of Covid-19 in private apartments and labour camps.
  • Such crisis resembling an emergency, “It is imperative to provide proper financial assistance/aid and rehabilitation packages to all the Indian across the globe who are in a distressed situation and in dire need of proper survival kits amenities” failure in this could amount to a violation of their right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The plea seeks issuance of 15% of “Foreign Remittance” for healthcare and welfare facilities for NRIs and emigrant workers.

The petitioner approached the court for the formulation of guidelines and also to respect the sentiments of our citizens working abroad for betterment of the country and bringing in funds.

“The State is duty-bound to uphold the principles of Human Rights and protect the same in the interest of its citizens. Human Rights are at par with the fundamental rights are enshrined in our Constitution and thus, the “right to life and provide adequate livelihood” needs to promoted with utmost sincerity”.

The plea also referred to (ICWF) Indian Community Welfare Fund whose motive is to meet expenditure incurred by Indian Missions/Consulates for carrying out several welfare activities. It is noticed by the petitioner that even after requests from anguished no financial aid has been provided to them.

Further, the petitioner suggests various measures to help the emigrants and NRIs by the establishment of embassies to mitigate the grievances and formulation of rehabilitation packages and also to prioritize urgent cases who need immediate attention.

The Supreme Court dismissed this petition. The bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and BR Gavai was not inclined to the matter and dismissed the petition.


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