The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to file a report on the steps taken by it to rescue 62 fishermen stranded in Saudi Arabia and struggling there.
While hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Thirumurugan, a relative of a fisherman stranded there, the court had earlier said it was the Centre’s duty to ensure the safe return of the fishermen through diplomatic channels.
When the plea came up for further hearing, a division bench of the court’s Madurai bench comprising justices S Nagamuthu and Murali Dharmam, wondered why the central government needed more time to rescue the fishermen.
The counsel for the central government said the rules of that country regarding labourers were proving to be a hurdle, adding, all efforts are being made to rescue them.
The judges then asked what was the state government doing and why it had not filed any counter.
The counsel for the state government said fisheries department officials were in touch with central government officials.
The judges directed the state government to file the counter, and posted the case for further hearing to September 15.
The petitioner had submitted that his uncle K Sethu Raja and other fishermen had gone to Saudi Arabia separately since 2013 to work in the company of a man named Yusuf Khaleel in Al Jubail.
He alleged that the employer had cheated them and was refusing to return their passports. Even Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to the Centre to rescue them, counsel for the petitioner had said.
( Source – PTI )