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    Pregnant expat in UAE seeks repatriation

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    Dubai: Amid the Indian government's travel restrictions, a pregnant Dubai-based Indian expat has decided to take her case to the Supreme Court, so that she can fly home for her delivery, a media report said.

    Athira Geetha Sreedharan, 27, from Kerala, filed a writ petition seeking help to return home following the suspension of flights to India as part of precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, said the Gulf News report.

    Sreedharan, who lives in Dubai with her husband Nithin Chandran, said she wanted to return home for the much-needed support following the birth of her first baby, due in the first week of July.

    However, owing to standard flight restrictions during pregnancy, she has submitted to the court that she can travel up till the first or second week of May.

    Speaking to Gulf News on Wednesday, the engineer-couple said the case was filed with the help of the youth wing of UAE-based expat organisation Incas, among a host of Indian community groups campaigning for the repatriation of stranded Indians here.

    Athira hoped her petition will also likely help other pregnant women who wish to fly home like her.

    UAE-based lawyer Devanand Mahadeva, however, said the decision to fly her home to India may not lie with the Supreme Court of India but with the government.

    "There is a limitation with the Supreme Court when it comes to such matters... Matters related to aviation and airports – all fall under the Union government.

    "So in effect, if there is an Indian citizen living abroad and wants to return home for personal reasons – the Supreme Court cannot get involved in that," Gulf News quoted Mahadeva as saying.

    However, Hyderali Thattathazhath, president of Incas Youth Wing, said the advocates arguing Athira's case are hopeful that the court will consider her plea on humanitarian grounds.

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