MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court sought a response from the Ministry of External Affairs on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking direction to trace four Indian seafarers who went missing after an accident on board a ship in Kerch Strait near Crimea.
A Bench, comprising justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar, gave the direction after dispensing with the presence of two officials from the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), who appeared before the Court on Wednesday.
The judges stated that since the accident occurred on international waters, the Indian Coast Guard will not be able to assist the Court in the present case and pulled up the Central government counsel for embarrassing both the Court as well as the officials.
Reiterating their previous opinion on the delay in tracing the missing men, the judges criticised the Central government by saying that, unlike other countries, the Indian government was not showing any interest in the safety of its citizens.
The judges, therefore, directed the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs to respond to the Court on the whereabouts of the missing seafarers before February 25, warning that if the department fails to comply with the order, the Court will be forced to summon the authorities. The case has been adjourned to February 25.
Report on plea to repair heritage structures
Madurai: The Madurai Bench directed the government to file a report on a PIL seeking direction to repair damaged heritage structures in Thamirabarani river. The Bench gave the direction on a petition filed by A M Sundaravel of Tirunelveli.
The petitioner stated that the 149 padithuraigal that lead to the Thamirabarani River have been lying in a dilapidated state for several years and pose a risk to devotees who use them.
Though the issue was brought to the attention of the authorities several times, no action was taken to renovate the structures, he stated, and sought direction from the Court for the same. Hearing the plea, the judges directed the government to file a report on the status of the structures before the next hearing on March 6.