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Job loss due to Covid-19: Kerala HC seeks views of Centre, state on legal aid to NRIs | Kochi News

KOCHI: The Kerala high court has sought the views of the central and state governments on a plea to provide free legal aid to Indians living abroad and those who were repatriated in view of Covid-19.
A division bench led by the chief justice sought the views of the governments after considering a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Pravasi Legal Cell through advocate Adithyan Ezhapilly.
It is estimated that 5 million jobs will be lost in the Middle East region due to Covid-19, with a majority of them being Indian migrant workers. Lakhs of Indian migrant workers have been repatriated since the pandemic began and this number is expected to rise exponentially over the next few months, the petition said.
The situation in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is the worst as more than half of the Indian emigrants working in those countries for the past 15 or 20 years are being removed from service without even prior notice due to the pandemic, said the PIL.
All non-resident Indians (NRIs), including migrant workers and workers who are undocumented or in irregular status, should have access to legal remedies for facing unfair treatment. They should be in a position to negotiate for their rights, including seeking redress for non-payment of wages, denial of other entitlements, and workplace discrimination, the plea stated.
As Indian citizens living abroad are entitled to fundamental rights conferred upon all citizens of India, they are entitled to free legal aid as an essential fundamental right, the petition said while seeking a court directive to ensure free legal aid to NRIs.

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