SUPREME COURT DISPOSES PLEA, REFUSES TO STOP DEPORTATION OF ROHINGYAS REFUGEES DETAINED IN J&K

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to give any protection to the Rohingya refugees detained in Kashmir, but directed that shall not be deported to Myanmar without following the prescribed procedure. However, a member of the Rohingya community, Mohammad Salimullah, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, passed a plea that claimed that refugees were illegally detained and jailed. The application urged the court to release the detained Rohingyas and grant them refugee identification cards through FRRO, for the Rohingyas in the informal camp. It further requested the court to direct the Centre to not implement any orders on deporting the Rohingya refugees detained in the sub-jail in Jammu. They had also argued that these people are not illegal immigrants but are valid refugees under the UN convention on refugees. Similarly, a Jammu-based NGO, Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, also applied before the Supreme Court stating a plea which says, Rohingya deportation must not be entertained since the settlement of the Rohingyas in Jammu was “a part of a larger design” and is an attempt to destabilize the country. The Union government states that the Rohingya posed a serious threat to the internal security of the country. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian has also dismissed the plea on Thursday. The Central government through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had opposed the plea, contesting the claim of the petitioner that they are refugees. The court agreed to Centre’s stand regarding the allegations of threat to national security because of the movement of illegal immigrants and noted that while refugees also have the Right to life under Article 21 of the constitution, the right not to be deported is part of the right to settle anywhere in the country that is available only to the citizens of the country under Article 19. “It is true that the rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 (right to equality and life) are available to all persons who may or may not be citizens and the right not to be deported, is ancillary or concomitant to the right to live or settle in any part of the territory of India guaranteed under Article 19(1).” Thus, India rejecting United Nations' position on deporting the Rohingya violates the principle of refoulement, the bench reflected on the fact that India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, 1951 and emphasized that there was no obligation on it to follow the principle of ‘non-refoulment.’

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