Supreme Court on Thursday denied granting any relief to the Rohingya refugees who are detained in Jammu and Kashmir. The court stated that Rohingyas shall not be deported to Myanmar without following the proper prescribed procedure.
“It is not possible to grant the interim relief. However it is made clear that the Rohingyas in Jammu on whose behalf the application has been moved shall not be deported unless the procedure prescribed for such deportation is followed,” the apex court said.
Three judge bench headed by CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde, also comprising Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramaniam, refused to order the release of over 170 Rohingya refugees detained in J&K and accorded to deport them back to their parent country after following the due procedure.
Mohammad Salimullah had filed a Public Interest Litigation challenging the detention of Rohingyas and the decision to deport them back to Myanmar. The petitioner has sought protection for Rohingyas and directions to restrain the country from deporting them to Myanmar as this will endanger their lives.
In the earlier hearing, Centre opposed the plea submitting that the country cannot be the capital for illegal immigrants.
During the March 23 hearings of the case, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner submitted that Rohingya children were subjected to killing, maiming and sexual exploitation by the Myanmar military which has failed to respect international humanitarian law.
He also referred to the order of International Court of Justice to highlight the fear of Rohingya’s genocide faced in Myanmar. Advocate Bhushan also mentioned about the ongoing Myanmar Coup where the Military has come into power.
He also drew attention to the principle of non-refoulement which forbids the expulsion of a refugee if there is a clear and certain danger of life in the country of origin.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre government opposed the plea while stating that deportation is done in accordance with the procedure prescribed under law and therefore, it cannot be held to be violative of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
He further called the Rohingya refugees “illegal migrants”. “India cannot be a capital for all illegal migrants of the world,” said SG Mehta.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, representing Jammu and Kashmir, contended that the principle of non-refoulement was not binding on the Indian government as it has not signed the international treaties propounding that particular principle.
“Possibly that is the fear that if they go back to Myanmar they will be slaughtered. But we cannot control all that. We are not called upon to condemn or condone genocide. We are certain that there should be no genocide in earth,” CJI said.